Københavns Universitet
Uafhængig af ledelsen


Patents as Data Aggregators in Personalized Medicine

Forelæsning — Prof. Dan L. Burk, University of California, Irvine & Post doc. Jakob Wested, University of Copenhagen, CeBIL.


Date & Time:

Meeting room 6B-3-04, 3rd floor, Njalsgade 76, DK-2300 Copenhagen S

Hosted by:
CeBIL - Center for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law



Abstract – Patents as Data Aggregators in Personalized Medicine
The role of patents in the emerging practice personalized medicine is problematic, as the potential market for tailored treatments may be too small for the patent incentive to be effective. However, in certain instances patent exclusivity may serve less as an incentive to invest in new inventions than it might to serve as an aggregator types of ancillary information that will be critical to personalized diagnosis and treatments. In this presentation, I look at the effect of patents on the collection and application of such non-patentable data related to genetic variation.  My vehicle for examining such effects is the testing service for genetic predisposition to cancer, which was the subject of the United States Supreme Court decision in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad.  The Myriad patents appear to have given rise to detailed databases of genetic variations that are now held as trade secrets. This shift toward trade secrecy suggests that patents may play a role in personalized medicine, and perhaps more generally, as aggregators of widely dispersed but valuable information. The welfare effects from such data aggregation, both positive and negative, have gone largely unexplored, and suggest a previously unappreciated justification for patenting in some instances.


  • Post doc, Jakob Wested: Introduction to CeBIL Research project on Personalized Medicine, under the collaborative Novo Nordisk Research program
  • Prof. Dan L. Burk: Patents as Data Aggregators in Personalized Medicine
    Questions & comments

About the presenter
Dan L. Burk is Chancellor’s Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine, where he is a founding member of the law faculty.  An internationally prominent authority on issues related to high technology, he lectures, teaches, and writes in the areas of patent, copyright, electronic commerce, and biotechnology law.  He is the author of numerous papers on the legal and societal impact of new technologies, including articles on Internet regulation, on the structure of the patent system, and on the economic analysis of intellectual property law.

Professor Burk holds a B.S. in Microbiology (1985) from Brigham Young University, an M.S. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (1987) from Northwestern University, a J.D. (1990) from Arizona State University, and a J.S.M. (1994) from Stanford University.

Prior to joining the faculty at UC Irvine, he taught at the University of Minnesota.  He has served as a legal advisor to a variety of private, governmental, and intergovernmental organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union Committee on Patent Policy and the OECD Committee on Consumer Protection.

Time: Monday 14 May 2018, 12:00-13:00

Location: Meeting room 6B-3-04, 3rd floor, Njalsgade 76, DK-2300 Copenhagen S

Sign up: For participation in the seminar please use this registration form no later than 13 May 2018, 10:00; for participation in the webinar please contact Jakob Wested, Jakob.blak.wested@jur.ku.dk