You might know that patents exist to incentivize innovation. In other words, the inventor who meets patent standards is given a period of market exclusivity (permitting the inventor to exclude others from various activities involving the patented invention) in exchange for publicly disclosing his/her invention. While this may be sufficient incentive for many technological areas, rare diseases pose a unique challenge.
Drug companies don’t generally target rare diseases. Why? A small patient population means that even if expensive research efforts are successful, there will not be a large return on investment. In 1983, the Orphan Drug Act (ODA) was passed with the intent to solve this problem. Has it worked? The answer to this question is more complicated than it may seem. Continue reading
Trolls are bad. They are bad characters in folk tales. There are also bad internet and social media trolls. Patent trolls join this club. But, what exactly are patent trolls and why have they attracted the attention of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and NPR shows such as This American Life, as well All Tech Considered? That’s what I’m here to tell you about – as well as how to possibly stop/limit patent trolls.
Rising drug prices have led to major issues with providing broad access to medicine around the world. While these issues receive significant media attention, it is important to understand fully why these problems exist in order to come up with real solutions. My perspective is shaped in large part by my background as a scientist. As a researcher, I viewed the issue purely through a scientific lens. I was focused on how to improve the drug development process through the technologies we were creating. However, I realized that there were also legal issues constraining technology development that spurred my interest in attending law school to pursue a career in patent law. As a first-year law student, my perspective has already broadened. I now know about legal barriers that can inhibit the impact of those technologies on global access to improved and cheaper medicine.
My highest priority when researching law schools was to find a school that would give me the best opportunities for a career in Intellectual Property (IP). I completed my PhD in chemistry at Purdue working on the development of a wide range of technologies for biomedical applications prior to coming to Loyola. In graduate school, I saw the many challenges that come with technology transfer and the need for people who understand both the scientific and legal sides of the process. I wanted to find a school that would allow me to build on my scientific background towards a career in IP, and patent law in particular. Now that I have completed my first semester, I can confidently say that I made the right choice.