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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Publication details for Dr Mike Adcock

Cornish, W.R., Llewelyn, M. & Adcock, M.D. (2003). Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and Genetics - A Study into the Impact and Management of Intellectual Property Rights within the Healthcare Sector. Cambridge, Public Health Genetics Unit.

Author(s) from Durham


Intellectual property rights and genetics
A study into the impact and management of intellectual property rights within the healthcare sector
Intellectual property rights (IPRs) are playing an increasingly important role in healthcare delivery and are particularly relevant to the development of genomic medicine. IPRs allow companies to recoup the cost of expensive research and development programmes, but for the healthcare sector they may lead to unacceptable barriers, increasing costs and restricting access to medicines and diagnosis.
Recognising the importance of this issue, the Department of Health funded a two-year study on the impact and management of IPRs within the healthcare sector. The study was a joint project of Professor Bill Cornish (University of Cambridge Intellectual Property Unit), Dr Margaret Llewelyn and Dr Mike Adcock (University of Sheffield Institute of Biotechnological Law and Ethics), and was overseen by Dr Ron Zimmern of PHGU.
This Report was commissioned by the Department of Health because of its serious concern
about the impact of intellectual property rights (IPRs) upon research and the use of novel
developments in genetics affecting health care. The subject has become increasingly
controversial since the completion of the drafts of the Human Genome. The Report is a
guide in outline for non-specialists in the field of IPRs. Its main aim is to state the present
legal position, so far as it can be ascertained, and to suggest the issues about which it is
important to define policy for the future. Expressions of opinion are those of the authors
alone and not of the Department of Health.
The type of IPR with widest impact in the field of genetics is the patent for invention. Other
rights which are also addressed include copyright and its extension; database right; proposals
for a right to remuneration for the copying and other exploitation of genetic information; and
the protection of confidential information.