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Patents, social justice, and public responsibility

A symposium event featuring a book talk with Shobita Parthasarathy
Monday, March 27, 2017
8:30 AM-6:00 PM
4th Floor Forum Hall Palmer Commons Map
Free and open to the public. RSVP at

This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for the Humanities and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

About the symposium:
In recent years, the public has become increasingly critical of patent systems. Rather than seeing them as merely technical and legal domains far removed from their daily lives, citizens have begun to see patent systems as connected to matters of health, economic inequality, agriculture, public morality—even democracy. This civil society interest is not entirely surprising. After all, both the number of patent applications and the scope of patentable subject matter has grown across the world. And, patents have been granted on the fruits of indigenous knowledge, genetically engineered animals and plants, human embryonic stem cells, and business methods, to name a few. This one-day symposium aims to grapple with this growing controversy, and explore ways forward for patents and patent systems that maximizes the public interest and social justice. It brings together a notably diverse array of experts on these issues, including historians, political scientists, legal and science and technology studies scholars, and civil society advocates, whose work focuses on the intersection of patents and the public interest.

The day will end with a book talk and reception celebrating the publication of Shobita Parthasarathy’s Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2017).


8:30 - 8:45 am: Breakfast

8:45 - 9:00 am: Introductions

9:00 - 10:40 am: Session 1: Patents and Democracy

11:00 - 12:40 pm: Session 2: The Patent System as a Moral Domain

12:40 - 2:00 pm: Lunch

2:00 - 3:40 pm: Session 3: The Socioeconomic Impacts of Patents

3:40 - 4:00 pm: Coffee break

4:00 pm: Book launch

Symposium speakers include:

Margo Bagley, Emory University School of Law
Mario Biagioli, University of California--Davis
Margaret Chon, Seattle University Law School
Graham Dutfield, University of Leeds
James Love, KEI
Kali Murray, Marquette University Law School
Sandra Park, American Civil Liberties Union
Alain Pottage, London School of Economics
Susan Sell, Australian National University

Session Moderators:

John Carson, History, University of Michigan
Rebecca Eisenberg, Law School, University of Michigan
Paula Lantz, Public Policy, University of Michigan

For more information, please contact Erin Flores | | 734-615-9691 or Kush Patel | | 734-763-4463
Building: Palmer Commons
Event Type: Conference / Symposium
Tags: Economics, Politics, Public Policy, Social Justice
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Science, Technology & Society

Each fall and winter term, STS brings an array of STeMS (Science, Technology, and Medicine) speakers to campus. Check back in January for our Winter 2017 line-up.