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From Patent Rights to Patent Responsibilities: Obligations incumbent on owners and licensors of intellectual property

Arguments in support of Universal Declaration of Patent Responsibilities.


From Patent Rights to Patent Responsibilities
Inadequately foreseen consequences
"Patent responsibility" ?
Ethical responsibility and ethical patenting
Desirable extension of the scope of "patent responsibility"
Patenting strategies and avoidance of responsibility
Relevance of principles of responsibility in the case of tangible property
Principles of exception relating to use of intellectual property
Challenging cases -- potentially abusive patenting frontiers
Potentially informative database initiatives
Principle of "patent holder pays"?
References

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Commentary partially in support of the draft proposal for a References



Introduction

The separate proposal for a Universal Declaration of Patent Responsibilities (2007) is designed to focus debate on those responsibilities for use of intellectual property incumbent on owners of such property and on those to whom use is granted by them in some way. This contrasts with current practice in which any such responsibility is left to others, notably regulatory authorities -- if they have been envisaged and irrespective of whether they have an appropriate mandate and adequate means of imposing constraints on use of the property.

The device used in formulating that draft proposal is the slight adaptation of the Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities, proposed by the InterAction Council in 1997 (as amended in 1998) for consideration by the United Nations as a complement to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). No action has since been taken on the original proposal (available in many languages). In a reaction to it, the UN approved a Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (53/144, 9 December 1998).

This focus on patent rights follows from an analogous draft proposal for a Universal Declaration of Responsibilities of Human Intercourse (2007), derived in the same manner -- and with which some relevant commentary is also associated. Just as that proposal benefitted from both a specific and a general connotation of "human intercourse", that on the Universal Declaration of Patent Responsibilities also benefits from multiple connotations highlighted by the possibility of more specific variants:

  • Universal Declaration of Responsibilities for Intellectual Property (namely technical and otherwise)
  • Universal Declaration of Responsibilities for Technical Patents (namely specifically technology-related)
  • Universal Declaration of Evident Responsibilities (namely rendered explicit in some way)

The proposed Universal Declaration of Patent Responsibilities (2007) necessarily treats some issues generically where more specific reference might be desirable in the light of the following. The focus is however to challenge any assumptions of an unquestionable right to "produce" without consideration of the containment capacity of the system or any consequent destabilization that proves necessary.


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