In the last quarter century, the scope of patenting has been expanded, the requirements for patentability have been lowered, the experimental use exemption has been narrowed, and patent holders' rights have been strengthened. New actors, most notably universities, have become involved. These changes threaten technological advance by hindering the emergence and utilization of design spaces, understood as metaphorical toolboxes shared by professions and comprised of basic elements and their relations routinely used for problem solving. While abstract, broad, and low-quality intellectual property per se constitutes a problem, it is particularly so when it comes to a design space, in the context of which knowledge has to be accessed in bundles, and large domains of further inquiry are at stake. The article calls for action in securing technological commons that, at least historically, have been provided via publicly funded research at universities and elsewhere.
- Design space
- Intellectual property
- Science and technology policy
- Technological development
- University patenting