Patent Pools in Life Sciences by Narinder S. Banait and Robert J. Yamasaki

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A patent pool is defined as an arrangement among multiple patent holders to aggregate their patents where all pooled patents are made available to each member of the pool, and standard licensing terms are offered to licensees who are not members of the pool. Typically, a portion of the licensing fees are allocated to each member according to an agreed upon formula.

Patent pools provide a vital mechanism for promoting the development and use of technology and for reducing transaction costs in cases where commercialization of a product or service requires the use of multiple patented technologies. Patent pools played a key role in the development of manufacturing technologies during the industrial revolution, and more recently in the development of the electronics and telecommunications industries. However, with a few limited exceptions, patent pools have not been utilized in the life sciences industry. We discuss the legal requirements for patent pools and explore how technical standards might facilitate the formation of patent pools in the life sciences industry.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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