Open innovation thinking gains a foothold even within the large multinationals, reports IP Watch, in a summary of the annual BioSquare meetup:
“On a panel on open innovation, Ludo Lauwers, senior vice president for Johnson & Johnson pharmaceuticals, said that the current innovation model is not sustainable for the pharmaceutical sector, and companies should seek open innovation solutions. Open innovation is a network of partnership, beyond classical networks, he said, and implies a change of mentality.
Intellectual property seems to be at a crossroads where industry still strongly favours it but some speakers voiced concerns about the possible counter-effects of too much IP protection on innovation.
Some departments inside companies are afraid of the risk of weak IP protection, and IP conditions should be worked out up front when an agreement is being negotiated, said Lauwers. “What we are doing today is not sustainable,” he said, arguing that beyond the intense IP discussions in courts, the patient should be central and if solutions can be brought to the market, everybody wins. Other ways must be used to protect inventions, he said, such as market exclusivity, which can delay the introduction of competing versions.
Bernard Munos, advisor on corporate strategy for Eli Lilly and Company, said industry has a strong proprietary culture and a non-disclosure policy, but a change of mentality is critical and although it is happening, progress is slow. Eli Lilly, he said, is publishing the audited results of their clinical trials. “A lot of the things that we protect do not really need to be protected. They could be out there on the internet for the world to analyse,” and this would help a lot of people, he said.
“Maybe we created our own problem,” Munos said, adding that today any innovation has so much prior art that “to secure the access to this prior art so that you can practice your innovation it is almost an endless process,” taking years and raising costs so high that sometimes it is not worth pursuing the project, he said.
This is a paradoxical situation where a patent system that was designed to foster innovation is now actually hindering it, Munos said. The patent system was created in a pre-internet days, he said, and internet changed the dynamics of innovation. There are no longer giant advances but rather a rising number of smaller scientific contributions that need to be aggregated, he said.”