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    Patents, healthcare and engaged shareholders: a pathway to encourage socially responsible patent use?

    McMahon, Aisling and Richardson, Edana (2022) Patents, healthcare and engaged shareholders: a pathway to encourage socially responsible patent use? Legal Studies, 42 (2). pp. 271-295. ISSN 0261-3875

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    This paper focuses on the drivers steering companies’ behaviour over uses of patented health technologies, taking Covid-19 as a case study. Global equitable access to health technologies is vital to bringing the pandemic under control. Reflecting this, global mechanisms for rightsholders to share intellectual property rights, data and know-how over such health technologies have been developed. Yet, to date, there is limited support from corporate rightsholders for such mechanisms. Instead, health technologies have been licensed largely based on bilateral deals, with vast global inequalities emerging. Given the traditional focus within company law on prioritising shareholders' short-term financial value, we argue that it is unsurprising that many corporate rightsholders adopt a protectionist approach to patents, even in the face of health crises. However, we argue that the tide may now be starting to shift, catalysed by an emergence of engaged shareholders petitioning for socially responsible corporate behaviour, including for uses of intellectual property over health technologies in a manner that more clearly aligns with public interests. If harnessed and encouraged, such engaged shareholder behaviour could present an opportunity to reframe the conception of shareholder value towards one that considers a long-term sustainable approach and ultimately to shift corporate behaviour around uses of intellectual property over health technologies to take public interests into account.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: patent law; corporate decision-making; engaged shareholders; licensing of health technologies; access to medicines; Covid-19;
    Academic Unit: Assisting Living & Learning,ALL institute
    Faculty of Social Sciences > Law
    Item ID: 17703
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Aisling McMahon
    Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2023 10:48
    Journal or Publication Title: Legal Studies
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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