On Friday 25 April, 2014 Professor Kevin Outterson (Professor of Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights, Boston University School of Public Health) and Dr Timo Minssen (Associate Professor of IP- & Innovation Law at the University of Copenhagen, Centre for Information & Innovation Law (CIIR) held a seminar on The legal ecology of resistance, or why normal IP rules should not apply to antibiotics.

PowerPoint presentations from this seminar are available - 

Professor Kevin Outterson Dr Timo Minssen 

About the seminar:

Pharmaceuticals is one of the sectors where patent law is thought to work best, but for one major class of drugs – anti-infectives – the weaknesses of the patent system are becoming increasingly clear. Anti-infectives decline in effectiveness over time through resistance, driven by evolution. Resistance challenges one foundation of patent theory, namely nonrivalry of knowledge. Horizontal transfer of genetic material also undermines the economic value of patent boundaries in antibiotic molecules, akin to a pollution externality. The result is a growing awareness that the current business model for antibiotics is broken and a search for new approaches. This fall, the EU IMI will begin a major project to understand the problem and potential solutions. The seminar discussed why normal IP rules shouldn't apply to antibiotics and present recent European and US initiatives in the fight against antimicrobial resistance.

About the speakers:

Professor Kevin Outterson teaches health law and corporate law at Boston University, where he co-directs the Health Law Program. He serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics; faculty co-advisor to the American Journal of Law & Medicine; past chair of the Section on Law, Medicine & Health Care of the AALS; and a member of the Board of the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics. He blogs on health policy issues, one of the leading health policy blogs with over 2.5 million visitors thus far.

His research work focuses on the organization and finance of the health sector. Areas of specialization include global pharmaceutical markets, particularly antibiotics and other antimicrobials that can degrade in usefulness over time through resistance. He leads an interdisciplinary project on the legal ecology of antimicrobial resistance, funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program on public health law. He is a faculty affiliate at the Harvard Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, an appointed member of the Antimicrobial Resistance Working Group at the CDC, and a Visiting Fellow at the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House). Academic papers can be found here.

Dr. Timo Minssen is Associate Professor of IP- & Innovation Law at the University of Copenhagen, Centre for Information & Innovation Law (CIIR). Before joining CIIR Timo graduated from law school in Germany and was trained in the German court system. He also holds a Swedish LL.D. degree in comparative patent law and received two IP & Biotech- related LL.M. degrees from the Universities of Uppsala & Lund. In addition he worked for a life science company and international law firms. Timo has been a guest scholar at Harvard Law School, the Max Planck Institute for IP & Competition Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, and his at present visiting research fellow at the University of Oxford. He also worked for the European Patent Office and conducted studies in epigenetics at the Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies in Lund. He is co- leading the Copenhagen Biotech & Pharma Forum and heads legal WPs in 4 interdisciplinary pharma- and biotech- related research projects. Dr. Minssen blogs regularly on health policy issues on Harvard Law School’s health law blog “Bill of Health”. His research homepage and publications are available here.