Cite as: Drahos, Peter, “Patent Reform for Innovation and Risk Management: A Separation of Powers Approach,” KEStudies (2007)
Patent Reform for Innovation and Risk Management: A Separation of Powers Approach
In this article, Peter Drahos describes the dramatic growth of patent systems through the 19th and 20th centuries, in ways that have seen power being centralized in fewer and fewer patent offices and which leave developing countries with little latitude for reform. He advocates patent reform which starts with breaking up these concentrations of power, focusing most on a separation of powers approach intended to change the patent registration system from one based on insider governance to one based on a system of networked governance that draws expertise and values from many communities of innovators. The author notes that the inefficiencies of the patent system will increasingly create problems for developing countries’ access to medicines, and he proposes four design ideas that draw on the principle of a separation of powers, with the objective of making the system more responsive to communities of innovators. These reforms include the formation of an external audit mechanism, the incorporation of independent stakeholders to break the insider-driven committees guiding patent office systems, the creation of transparency registers, and the creation of global standards of patent transparency.