Where Excludability Matters: Material v. Intellectual Property in Academic Biomedical Research
Walsh, John P.
Cohen, Wesley M.
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On the basis of survey responses from 507 academic biomedical researchers, we examine the impact of patents on access to the knowledge and material inputs that are used in subsequent research. We observe that access to knowledge inputs is largely unaffected by patents. Accessing other researchers' materials, such as cell lines, reagents, and antigens is, however, more problematic. The main factors associated with restricted access to materials include scientific competition, the cost of providing materials, a history of commercial activity on the part of the prospective supplier, and whether the material in question is itself a drug.