International workshop: Responsiveness in European patenting practices

Place: Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Marstallplatz 1, Munich

Time: May 24 – 25 2016

The notion of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is gaining increased importance in European science and innovation policy ( and a Rome Declaration on RRI has been drafted ( Responsible research and innovation has been conceptualised in slightly different ways, but the following elements are usually understood as key dimensions:

  1. That research and innovation needs to address significant societal needs and challenges
  2. That the research and development process actively engages with and responds to a range of stakeholders
  3. That there is within the research and innovation practices a concerted effort to anticipate potential problems, identify alternatives, and reflect on underlying values; and
  4. That research and innovation actors have a willingness to act and adapt according to 1-3 (i.e. show a willingness to be responsive and act on the deliberations they engage in).

RRI is mostly targeted towards researchers and innovators; encouraging a research and innovation process that is anticipatory, deliberative and responsive to public concerns. In this workshop we take as a starting point that responsible research and innovation practices also needs to include responsible patenting and licensing practices, as patenting and licensing may significantly shape how research and innovation meet society and what impacts innovations will have on different stakeholders. However, patenting and licensing practices are hardly addressed in the RRI discourse. In this workshop, we will therefore explore the relevance of RRI to questions of patenting. In particular, we will explore the responsiveness dimension, as the three first dimensions have little significance if the relevant actors do not adapt or respond to the results of deliberations and dialogues.

More specifically: The overall two questions to be explored in the workshop are how responsive current European patenting practices are to public concerns and what the most promising avenues for increased responsiveness might be.

In order to address these two questions we invite key European scholars and stakeholders within the field of patenting and governance to a fully-funded two-day workshop. The purpose is twofold: a) to be a platform for academic and stakeholder dialogue on these important issues, and, b) to generate insights that will be used in the PatentEthics project to develop recommendations for responsible patenting practices in Europe.

The workshop is organised as a cooperation between

  • The PatentEthics project, led by Dr. Ellen-Marie Forsberg, Oslo and Akershus University College, and funded by the Norwegian Research Council’s ELSA programme
  • The project DNA patents beyond clinical genetics: HPV testing and cervical cancer screening in China, the UK and USA. A comparative investigation of the bioethics of biomarker IP and its implications for public policy, led by Dr. Stuart Hogarth, King’s College London, funded by the UK Wellcome Trust
  • Professor Ingrid Schneider, Political Scientist at the University of Hamburg
  • Dr. Matthias Lamping, The Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition

The workshop is funded by the Research Council of Norway, through the Patent Ethics project.  



Day 1 – The current situation

11.30 – 12.30: Registration

12.00 13.00: Lunch

13.00 – 13.15: Welcome and introductions of the participants, by Ellen-Marie Forsberg (HiOA)

13.15 – 13.35: The background for the workshop; patent ethics, RRI and responsiveness, by Ellen-Marie Forsberg (HiOA)

13.35 – 13.50: Comment on the responsiveness to ethical concerns by Julian Cockbain (consultant patent attorney) and Prof. Sigrid Sterckx (University of Gent)

13.50 – 14.20: General discussion

14.20 – 14.40: Responsiveness to societal interests in the use of patented biomarkers, by Stuart Hogarth (King’s College London)

14.40 – 14.55: Comment on the generalisability of the findings, Dr. Shobita Parthasarathy (University of Michigan)

14.55 – 15.20: General discussion

15.20 – 15.45: Coffee/tea

15.45 – 16.05: The responsiveness of EPO to stakeholders, by a a representative from EPO (not confirmed)

16.05 – 16.20: Comment on the responsiveness of EPO to stakeholders, by Dr. Christoph Then (No Patents on Seeds!)

16.20 – 16.35: Comment on the responsiveness of EPO to stakeholders, by Professor Nico Groenendijk (University of Twente)

16.35 – 17.00: General discussion

19.00 Dinner

Day 2 – Future options

09.00 – 09.20: The space for increasing responsiveness within the TRIPS framework; the Declaration of Patent Protection – Regulatory Sovereignty under TRIPS, by Dr. Matthias Lamping (Max Planck Institute)

09.20 – 09.40: What are the options for increasing responsiveness in the patent system? By Professor Ingrid Schneider (University of Hamburg)

09.40 – 09.55: Overview of international bodies and decision structure for developing the international patent systems, by Ingrid Mauritzen, Head of Legal Section, Norwegian Industrial Property Office

09.55 – 10.10: Comment from Dr. Udo Bux, the European Parliament, Policy Department Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs

10.10 – 10.40: General discussion

10.40 – 11.00: Coffee/tea

11.00 – 11.20: Institutional strategies for corporate IPR arrangements that are responsive to societal concerns, by Medicines Patent Pool

11.20 – 11.35: Comment

11.35 – 12.00: General discussion

12.00 – 12.20: Summary and closure of workshop, by Stuart Hogarth, Ellen-Marie Forsberg and Ingrid Schneider

12.30:              Lunch


Contact: Ellen-Marie Forsberg