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GlobalWG 5.3 – Intellectual Property and Knowledge Management



Chair: Richard Gold
McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Research Problem and Objectives

IBOL has a data release policy that requires the deposition of specimen data, taxon name/identifier and genetic data in a public database - the Barcode of Life Data System (BOLD). A coordinated release of data to GenBank and BOLD ensures twin objectives of quality and accessibility are met. This approach is consistent with open innovation, referring to the idea borrowed from innovation in which the boundaries of a firm are viewed as permeable because intellectual assets circulate easily.

The GE3LS team will extend the concept of open innovation to develop strategies for quickly creating valuable products and services from iBOL. It will focus on developing a strategy to mobilize knowledge using formal intellectual property protection (patents, trademarks, copyright) and informal barriers to knowledge (secrets, know-how, regulatory data, etc.) where appropriate. This encompasses data banking, traditional patent landscaping, analysis of freedom-to-operate issues, and in special cases, prospective patent valuation.

But given recent shifts in biotechnology intellectual property management away from traditional forms of protection, the team will focus on the mobilisation of knowledge within iBOL and to society more broadly.

IP and knowledge management focused on value creation avoids default accrual of formal intellectual property - often itself a special kind of encumbrance and limit on freedom to operate. Knowledge that is 'sticky' is that which is best transmitted face-to-face, circulating in an innovation system.

Researchers will concentrate on the development of protocols for iBOL to transfer 'sticky' knowledge through public and private partnerships. The objective is to use the best knowledge management literature and case studies to develop protocols in public and pre-competition environments to promote the uptake and use of iBOL results.

This approach is based on contemporary literature, case studies, and personal experience, and will maximize economic returns to the project.

Milestones and Deliverables

The research team is experienced in open innovation approaches but the field is evolving rapidly. It requires:
– an environmental scan to update current theories and techniques for knowledge mobilisation proven to work in areas similar to iBOL.
– A working group with iBOL science researchers to identify IP and knowledge management issues that appear intractable and require new insights to resolve.
– The identification of candidates, from data to applications, as elements to be used in the development of a comprehensive portfolio of knowledge to be mobilised from iBOL.
– The development and implementation of tracking mechanisms.

Research Team

Richard Gold, McGill University
iBOL designate
Mehrdad Hajibabaei, University of Guelph
Invited team members
Shakeel Bhatti, International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, FAO
Jean Frederic Morin, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Marc-André Gagnon, Carleton University
Nancy Gallini, University of British Columbia).


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