Spicy Tidbits & Events

Prizes instead of patents for pharmaceuticals
Senator Sanders introduced the Medical Innovation Prize Fund Act of 2007 into the US Congress. In essence the idea is to provide a large fund of money to provide government backed incentives (‘prizes’) to help direct pharmaceutical research into needed areas. The aim is to separate innovation from the proce of products. The prizes will be substituted for patent monopolies (though patents would still play a role in who gets each prize). The team at Knowledge Economy International (and particularly James Love) have been advocating such a system for quite some time now. For those unaware of the underlying theory, there is a lot more to it than meets the eye – a careful consideration will be well worthwhile.

The Knowledge Ecology International press release on the bill is here.

Call for papers – Workshop on the Politics of Intellectual Property
Sebastian Haunss (University Hamburg, Germany)
Kenneth C. Shadlen (London School of Economics, UK)

Intellectual property (IP) has become an issue of utmost importance in the contemporary global economy. How should the private or collective acquisition and control of knowledge be governed? Which frameworks for managing IP are optimal for stimulating the production of knowledge while also facilitating use? These overarching questions are increasingly the subject of political conflicts over what types of knowledge can and should be privately owned, and about how much power owners should have to restrict access to privately owned knowledge.

While the broad topic of intellectual property has received considerable attention in recent years, particularly from lawyers and activists, remarkably few political scientists have turned their attention to this issue. Our workshop aims to encourage this incipient research agenda and encourage scholars to direct their analytic energies toward the politics of IP. As such, we invite scholars working in international relations, political economy, social movement studies, political sociology, and other fields to confront their respective methodological perspectives and theoretical assumptions in a productive exchange that promises to lead to a fuller understanding of the social and political processes that affect the governance of intellectual property.

Please submit abstracts by 1st December 2007 to:
Sebastian Haunss or
Kenneth Shadlen

You can download a pdf-version of the call for papers here.

For more information see the ECPR website: http://www.rennes2008.visionmd.co.uk/index.html

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