Haewon Chung successfully defended her doctoral thesis

Posted on Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Centre for Law, Technology and Society is delighted to announce that on November 20th, 2020, Haewon Chung successfully defended her PhD in Law thesis titled “Patent Conflicts in User-Driven Biotechnology: Examining Knowledge Management Strategies for Patentable Research Resources to Stimulate DIY Bio and Other Social Production in Biotechnology”, and written under the supervision of CLTS Faculty member Dr. Teresa Scassa.

Haewon Chung studied computer science and law before starting her doctoral degree in law at the University of Ottawa. Haewon Chung’s research interests include digital knowledge management, open access, and intellectual property law.

Beyond her supervisor, Dr. Chung’s doctoral defence committee consisted of CLTS Faculty members Dr. Chidi Oguamanam, Dr. Michael Geist, David Fewer, and Dr. Tina Piper (McGill University, external examiner).



The thesis explores possible conflicts between user-driven, socially produced open biotechnology (such as Do-It-Yourself or DIY Bio) and the existing biotechnology patent landscape, and it examines alternative knowledge management strategies for sharing patentable research resources in the newly emerging user-driven R&D environment. This thesis considers whether the biotechnology patent landscape can interfere with, be detrimental to or cause hardships in this alternative open innovation environment and whether knowledge management strategies protect against third party patent interference while ensuring freedom of research and development in this environment. Alternative knowledge management strategies, such as open-source patent licensing, clearinghouses and contract-based compensatory liability regimes, allow DIY biotechnologists to create a protected commons of shared community resources. However, these strategies do not fully address certain problems in patent law, such as fragmented and overlapping rights on cumulative technologies and strategic patent use. Aside from relying on alternative knowledge management, governments can also exercise broad powers to encourage R&D, such as expanding patent law exceptions to reduce patent risks and to stimulate growth and entrepreneurship in user-driven biotechnology.

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