22.1 Much of the concern about the potential adverse impact of gene patents has entailed criticism of the way in which gene patents are exploited and the possibility that licences for gene patents may be granted on a restrictive basis. Chapters 12 and 20 considered these concerns in the context of licences to genetic research tools and gene patents used in healthcare provision.

22.2 This chapter provides a more general consideration of issues relating to the licensing of gene patents. The various types of patent licences and the typical terms of such agreements are outlined. The chapter then examines available evidence about licensing practices relating to genetic materials and technologies in Australia. It concludes with a discussion of particular issues that have been identified as impediments to the licensing of gene patents in the Australian biotechnology sector, and recommends reforms to facilitate licensing in this area.

22.3 Other chapters of this Report address other aspects of gene patent licensing practices. Chapter 17 outlines the licensing practices of Australian publicly funded research organisations. Chapters 24 and 27 consider the remedies that may be available if patent holders engage in anti-competitive conduct or unreasonably restrict access to patented genetic inventions. In addition, Chapter 23 considers various statutory licensing schemes for certain types of gene patents.