Policy Sciences

, 44:267 | Cite as

Whose knowledge? What values? The comparative politics of patenting life forms in the United States and Europe

  • Shobita Parthasarathy


Over the past few decades, a variety of groups have begun to argue that the US and European patent systems do not adequately represent the public interest in their decision making and that they need to undergo fundamental changes to their structure and orientation. These challengers have adopted similar strategies—in terms of the venues chosen and the arguments, evidence, and rhetoric used—in each context. However, they have experienced more success in Europe than in the United States. This paper begins to explain this difference by arguing that the US and European patent policy domains have different “expertise barriers”—formal and informal rules that make it difficult for those without the knowledge that is recognized as relevant and legitimate in that domain to engage as equals.


Intellectual property Biotechnology Ethics Governance Expertise Democracy 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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