How Intellectual Property Jurisdiction Impacts Biomedical Innovation for Better Health

The future of health care is being shaped by biotechnology. New technologies are providing patients with earlier diagnoses and superior treatment options. At the same time, developers of these technologies are seeking ways to maximize financial and strategic returns on their investments, and intellectual property is a primary vehicle for doing so.

Intellectual property is, in fact, deeply integrated in the network governance of biomedical technological innovation. Understanding intellectual property issues in this context has major legal implications, especially related to the constitutional division of powers, and, therefore, also has real practical and public policy significance.

Laboratory Science, by Bill Dickinson, on Flickr.
Laboratory Science, by Bill Dickinson, on Flickr.

Intellectual Property and Biomedical Innovation in the Context of Canadian Federalism,” which I co-authored with Craig Brusnyk, tackles such issues. It has three parts.

The first deconstructs and challenges assumptions about federal jurisdiction over intellectual property in the biomedical field by exploring the scope of Parliaments constitutional jurisdiction over patents and examining how the provinces also have a jurisdictional claim over the regulation of patented medicines and health technologies.

The second part investigates a series of case studies on issues of assisted human reproduction, gene patents and diagnostic testing, pharmaceutical pricing and intergovernmental relations, data exclusivity and intergovernmental relations, and finally, subsequent entry (generic) biologics.

The third part of this paper elaborates on this final conclusion by addressing possible strategies to manage complex relationships, in the context of Canadian federalism, for better regulation and governance of biomedical technology innovation.

The research stems from a SSHRC-funded research project exploring various aspects of intellectual property governance in federal systems, which you can learn more about throughout my website.

Download the article on the Social Science Research Network, SSRN, right here.