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home > ebr > winter 2002 > dealing with the pitfalls of intellectual property co-ownership in international biopharmaceutical r&d joint ventures
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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Dealing with the Pitfalls of Intellectual Property Co-Ownership in International Biopharmaceutical R&D Joint Ventures

Biopharmaceutical companies increasingly join forces to research and develop new drugs and therapies. Among the many reasons for entering into collaborative R&D agreements are the sharing of risk and cost, enhanced access to complementary resources of competent research personnel, financial resources and background intellectual property (IP), as well as marketing considerations such as access to new markets. Underpinning these specific motivations is the overall objective of increasing creativity through interaction in R&D. From a legal perspective, the goal of R&D joint ventures is to create and exploit new intellectual property rights (IPRs), particularly patents (1).In this respect, ownership of IPRs often proves to be one of the most sensitive issues if it is not properly addressed at the outset of the venture. The risk of inadequate allocation of IPRs resulting from unintended joint ownership of the IPRs is indeed that these rights may not be properly used by the parties and may not be enforced against third party infringers, if the parties to the joint R&D project do not consent on the course of action to be adopted.


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By Thierry Calame, Attorney at Law with Lenz & Staehelin Thierry Calame is an Attorney at Law specialising in intellectual property law with Lenz & Staehelin. He represents clients in patent litigation and other IP-related litigation and advises on a wide range of IP- and technology-related commercial matters and licensing. He has a particular focus on clients in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.
Thierry holds a degree from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Chemistry and a Law degree from the University of St Gallen, Switzerland.

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