Professor Kjetil Taskén interviewed by the journal Fagbladet Forskningsetikk
Former NCMM Director, Professor Kjetil Taskén, features in an article about the history of patents in research, and the pros and cons associated with the practice.
Professor Kjetil Taskén. Photographer: John Hughes
Due to the nature of research, and the commercial potential of some findings, the use of patents is a natural part of medical research.
However, the matter can become problematic when it comes to publicly-funded research. Medicines take a long time, and funding, to be successfully developed. Pharmaceutical companies and other organisations are unlikely to invest in the development of drugs, unless they know they will at some point earn back their money.
The interview, published in the journal Fagbladet Forskningsetikk in June 2018, and on Forskning.no in October, examines how patents are used in Norway and abroad, and the potential issues that arise when it comes to their use in medical research. In 2003, Norway passed a law that meant universities, and other publicly-funded institutions, were given responsibility for the commercialisation of research results.
UiO now has own technology transfer office to assist with patents
Professor Kjetil Taskén, speaking in his previous role as Director of NCMM, discusses how, since the creation of the University of Oslo’s own Technology Transfer Office (TTO) Inven2, centres like NCMM have been able to get some much needed guidance on how to use patents, and also support for creating a patent strategy when needed.
Patents are important, but delays in publishing research data can arise
Professor Taskén highlights how the use of patents can be beneficial, but that issues can also arise thanks to the delays that a patent can cause. Patenting can mean that research findings are kept ‘secret’, and that this secrecy can be promoted at the expense of openness and sharing of knowledge. However, as Taskén states, he has always been able to work out a strategy with the UiO's TTO to avoid unwanted delays in publication of data. On balance, it has been possible to both think commercially and still work with the bigger picture.
You can read the article in full (Norwegian only) on Forskning.no: Offentlig finansiert forskning til salgs