Patent pools and clearinghouses in the life sciences

Trends Biotechnol. 2011 Nov;29(11):569-76. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2011.06.002. Epub 2011 Jul 4.


The biopharmaceutical industry is slowly absorbing the idea of collaborative patent licensing models. Recently, two patent pools for developing countries have been launched: the Pool for Open Innovation against Neglected Tropical Diseases initiated by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which is referred to as the BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) pool, and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) initiated by UNITAID. Various organizations have recommended using pools or clearinghouses beyond the humanitarian dimension where many patents are owned by many different actors. As a first attempt, MPEG LA, which administers patent pools in various technology fields, is now setting up a clearinghouse for patents related to molecular diagnostics. These examples as well as the results from an empirical study provide useful insights for the design and administration of future pools and clearinghouses in the life sciences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Science Disciplines*
  • Biopharmaceutics*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Drug Industry*
  • Humans
  • Patents as Topic*