Environmental, Social & Economic Impacts projects

Intellectual Property Protection and Contractual Relations for Biofuels Innovations - Completed

This project assessed the intellectual property (IP) issues relevant to biofuels research beyond current ethanol production. The team looked at issues relevant to public/private sector research collaboration and commercial development, as well as the landscape for biofuels research, particularly lignocellulose production and conversion. They also surveyed scientists regarding the intellectual property protection of their research inputs and outputs, and will repeat the survey over years to capture evolving IP environment.

project Highlights

2010 Highlights

The study of UC (university) licensing is yielding highly relevant implications for further research of patenting and licensing, and for the pattern of innovation by licensees. The study of public-private alliances has expanded as those alliances have proliferated. The patent landscape study shows biofuels patents to be of high value, proliferating rapidly, and in distinct fields with specialized location and ownership.

2009 Highlights

An initial assessment of the IP landscape indicated that patenting is now increasing sharply as the technology progresses, with high activity of nonprofits in one sector (fermentation) and domination of Danish firms in another (saccharification). Wright’s team distributed a survey of the effects of IP on the work of bioscientists. The team also made substantial progress on the influence of university (UC) licensing on the citations to patented innovations. In addition, Wright’s group also collected data on matching types of sponsorship of research to the patenting and licensing of research outcomes, which has generated interest at the National Academies.



Published in 2011

The Economics of Grain Price Volatility, Brian D. Wright, Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, 33(1), pp. 32-58, Spring 2011.

Published in 2009

Patents vs. Patenting: Implications of Intellectual Property Protection for Biological Research, Zhen Lei, Brian Wright, Nature Biotechnology, pp. 36-40, January 2009



Back to Top