ultimate commercial products to innovating firms to give them adequate incentives to develop the products, but it might be impossible to preserve this option without limiting dissemination of the inventions for their present use as research tools.
For all of these reasons, exclusive rights risk inhibiting the optimal use of research tools and interfering with downstream incentives for product development. Much depends on whether the holders of exclusive rights can figure out how to disseminate research tools broadly without undermining their value as intellectual property.
These are difficult problems that defy facile solutions. One of the purposes of this workshop is to examine the solutions that different institutions have come up with and see how they have operated in practice. Which mechanisms have worked well, which have worked badly, and what can we learn from the experiences of others? We need to keep in mind that this issue implicates the interests of many different players who value intellectual property in different ways and for different purposes.