Type: Seminar

Patents, social justice, and public responsibility


Date & time

Mar 27, 2017, 8:30 am-6:00 pm EDT


4th floor Forum Hall, Palmer Commons
100 Washtenaw Avenue Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2218

Free and open to the public.

REGISTER HERE: http://umichfordschool.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_d43P0098ezJPhNb

This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for the Humanities, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program, and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. 

About the symposium:
In recent years, the public has become increasingly critical of patent systems. Rather than seeing them as merely technical and legal domains far removed from their daily lives, citizens have begun to see patent systems as connected to matters of health, economic inequality, agriculture, public morality—even democracy. This civil society interest is not entirely surprising. After all, both the number of patent applications and the scope of patentable subject matter has grown across the world. And, patents have been granted on the fruits of indigenous knowledge, genetically engineered animals and plants, human embryonic stem cells, and business methods, to name a few. This one-day symposium aims to grapple with this growing controversy, and explore ways forward for patents and patent systems that maximizes the public interest and social justice. It brings together a notably diverse array of experts on these issues, including historians, political scientists, legal and science and technology studies scholars, and civil society advocates, whose work focuses on the intersection of patents and the public interest.

The day will end with a book talk and reception celebrating the publication of Shobita Parthasarathy’s Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2017).


8:30 - 9:00 am: Continental breakfast

8:45 - 9:00 am: Introductions

Sidonie Smith, Mary Fair Croushore Professor of the Humanities, Professor of English and Women’s Studies, and Director of the Institute for the Humanities, University of Michigan

Shobita Parthasarathy, Associate Professor of Public Policy and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan

9:00 - 10:40 am: Patents and Democracy

Moderator: John Carson, Department of History, University of Michigan

Patent Politics in the Age of Illiberalism
Kali Murray, Marquette University School of Law

Promoting the Progress of Public Interest Patent Law Advocacy
Sandra Park, American Civil Liberties Union

Re-embedding intellectual property into public policy - Advocacy and the importance of short causal chains
Susan Sell, Australian National University

10:40 - 11:00 am: Coffee break

11:00 - 12:40 pm: Patents and the Global Politics of Knowledge 

Moderator: Rebecca Eisenberg, Law School, University of Michigan

Intellectual Property and Traditional Knowledge: Personal Reflections on the Biopiracy Debate, 1988-2017
Graham Dutfield, University of Leeds

Global Intellectual Property: Partnerships and the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Margaret Chon, University of Seattle

Intellectual Property Regimes and Genetic Resources: The Push for Transparency, Policy Space, and Fairness
Margo Bagley, Emory University School of Law

12:40 - 2:00 pm: Lunch

2:00 - 3:40 pm: Considering the Social, Economic, and Moral Dimensions of Patents

Moderator, Paula Lantz, Public Policy, University of Michigan

The role of patents when R&D costs are delinked from drug prices.
James Love, Knowledge Ecology International

Justice framed as dignity; reflections on diagnostic patents in IVF treatment
Alain Pottage, London School of Economics

Patent Responsibly: Can We Assess the Social Cost of Patenting?
Mario Biagioli, University of California—Davis

3:40 - 4:00 pm: Coffee break 

4:00 pm: Book launch, Patent Politics

Shobita Parthasarathy discusses her new book, Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2017), followed by discussion with Richard Hall, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, University of Michigan, then audience Q&A.

Susan Collins, Joan and Sanford Weill Dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and Professor of Public Policy and Economics, University of Michigan, will introduce the launch.

5:30 pm on: Reception and book signing.

For more information, please contact Erin Flores | [email protected] | 734-615-9691 or Kush Patel | [email protected] | 734-763-4463