The goals of the forum will be to bring together basic researchers in plant biology, policymakers, and those involved with the application of research in plant molecular biology. Participants will include research scientists; research and technology transfer managers, funders, and policymakers; product developers; and other experts in plant-based industries (especially crop genetics, biobased energy, and phytoremediation).
Speakers will discuss which intellectual property rights issues are the most important to address, which might be amenable to policy intervention, and whether further study of the issues and responses is warranted. The forum will provide a neutral setting to promote the open exchange of views. A summary report of the forum will be prepared for publication by the National Academy Press. The publication will not include recommendations. To encourage open discussion, no statements by speakers will be printed in the report without permission.
The following are among the questions relating to plant biotechnology that participants will consider:
Is technology transfer managed in a way that provides for scientific progress, incentives for commercial development, and public benefit? That is, are new techniques, information, research tools, and other forms of intellectual property effectively disseminated? If not, what improvements might be made?
What benefits and problems result from negotiations or alliances between university, government, and commercial laboratories? How do universities, government, and industry differ in their missions, motives, and expectations for collaborations? What licensing strategies and procedures for technology transfer will be most beneficial for the different sectors?
Do current means for protecting intellectual property rights adequately encourage both scientific progress and commercial development? Is the level of protection sufficiently strong to encourage commercial investment in the development of innovative products and techniques and yet sufficiently generous so that free exchange of scientific information is not impeded? Do current patenting practices need to be modified?