U-M conference examines emerging patent issues

March 23, 2017
Nicole Casal Moore



DATE: 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday, March 27, 2017

EVENT: “Patents, Social Justice, and Public Responsibility”

As the number of patent applications and the scope of patentable subject matter has grown in recent years, so has public criticism of patent systems. This free, public conference brings together a diverse group of scholars to explore ways forward for patents and patent systems that maximize the public interest and social justice.

The conference topics have economic and public health implications for the state of Michigan and the country, says organizer Shobita Parthasarathy, associate professor of public policy and women’s studies at the University of Michigan.

“One of the biggest concerns is that patents lead to exorbitant prices on, and lack of access to, life-saving technologies—especially drugs,” Parthasarathy said. “This is one of the areas we’ll explore this at the symposium, and in particular, how average citizens can shape patent law and policy.”

Among the several speakers are:

  • Sandra Park, senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, who will discuss the progress of public interest patent law advocacy at 9 a.m.
  • James Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International, who will address the role of patents when drug R&D costs are separated from drug prices at 2 p.m.
  • Parthasarathy who will talk about her new book, “Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe,” at 4 p.m., followed by a book signing.

PLACE: Forum Hall Palmer Commons, 100 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor (View map)

INFORMATION: Full agenda and registration

SPONSORS: Institute for the Humanities; Science, Technology and Public Policy Program; Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy