Over the next 12 months we will be discussing the history of innovation in plant sciences (how people made new types of organism, and what this might mean), the history of intellectual property in the plant sciences (how people went about either trying to own their purportedly new products, or indeed refusing to take some form of ownership over them), new models for how to understand these changes (with an emphasis on Greg Radick’s brand spanking new “IP-narrow/IP-broad” theory, which will be explained in as much detail as possible), while also giving the ‘Cultivating Innovation’ view on developments in IP in the plant sciences as they unfold throughout the year.
We really want to attract the attention of people who have to deal with intellectual property issues in the plant sciences on a day-to-day basis. Do you work in a lab/research unit on a university campus, or in a private plant breeding firm? Are you a farmer or someone who works in a commercial seed firm, and so have to deal with issues such as seed certification? Do you work in public policy, and have to consider the environmental results of various types of intellectual property system in agriculture? We want to hear from you! We are already going to be working closely with the Organic Research Centre, and have secured the British Society of Plant Breeders as Project Affiliates (which means they will be taking an interest in the project, offering comments and lending their expertise when they can) and we hope to strengthen these relationships and build upon them as much as possible.* We are hoping to gather more Project Affiliates, so if you represent an organisation (or know of an organisation we could approach) who might be particularly interested in the project then please let us know about them, or send them our details.
While the project gets off the ground in these first few weeks, we would like to point you in the direction or two very important online resources, both of which have informed part of the base of Cultivating Innovation.
Firstly, the IPBio network, created and maintained by Dr. Berris Charnley, who has kindly agreed to share his expertise as an Academic Advisor to Cultivating Innovation. Here you will find an excellent array of videos and links to lectures by world-class researchers in the history of biology and intellectual property, alongside other resources. Secondly, the ongoing Rethinking Patent Cultures project currently being pursued by fellow researchers here at Leeds. The University of Leeds has a real concentration of expertise in the history and contemporary status of intellectual property around the world. These latter researchers are focussing in particular on the history of IP in medicine, which makes for an excellent comparison point for the history of agriculture, albeit in ways that are perhaps not obvious, but will emerge much more clearly as Cultivating Innovation comes to interact with Rethinking Patent Cultures, a discussion that will be aided by having Graeme Gooday (Principal Investigator on ‘Rethinking’) as our Co-Investigator.
So welcome! Here’s to an exciting 12 months.
*Unfortunately, after further discussions within the BSPB, it was decided that it was not appropriate for this organisation to be so closely involved with the project. The Cultivating Innovation team will therefore be finding new ways in which to interact with industry representatives directly. Any and all suggestions will be very welcome.