Where do you stand on the debate?

Patents are a menace, according to Terence Kealey, clinical biochemist and vice-chancellor at the University of Buckingham, UK.

‘Inventors claim they need patents to incentivise their research but, today, it is the company that fails to innovate that goes bust,’ says Kealey.

But patents protect inventions by giving the owner of the patent the right to stop anyone from making or using the invention without the owner’s permission, says Barry Treves, president of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, UK.

‘In today’s liberal and free market economies it’s not just industrialists and governments who recognise the importance of a sound and enforceable patent system; increasingly the academic world is coming to realise that patents and the licence revenues that can flow from them are making an essential contribution to university research and to economic growth,’ says Treves.

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