Prof Aisling McMahon discusses research on patents and governance of health at ISHTIP Conference, Boston University.

by | Jul 3, 2024 | News

On 26th June 2024, Professor Aisling McMahon (PI PatentsInHumans) discussed her emerging work  developed as part of the European Research Council funded PatentsInHumans project at the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP) workshop on ‘Intellectual Property Law and the Anthropocene’ in Boston University (26th-27th June 2024). The full workshop programme is available here.

Professor Aisling McMahon’s paper was entitled “Patents and the Global Governance of Health: An Institutionalised Marginalisation of Health and Broader Societal Needs within Patent Decision-Making Systems?”. It argued that there is a marginalisation of broader societal needs, including health needs within the current global system for patent grant and enforcement. Drawing on institutional theories, it argued that a key factor leading to this marginalisation of health relates to the legal and institutional frameworks applicable within current patent systems, and the lack of holistic avenues within international legal systems to offer effective means to consider societal impacts of patent rights. Professor Christopher Robertson, Boston University School of Law, acted as the paper commentator leading the discussion on the paper which was followed by a broader discussion with workshop participants.

The International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP) is a leading international society which promotes and supports scholarly investigation of the national histories of patent, copyright, and “related” rights; the diverse “roads not taken” in the evolution of these legal structures; contemporary countertrends; and the laws and norms that have been devised in non-European cultures around the world to manage intellectual production and exchange. See:

Prof McMahon is a Professor of Law specialising in health and intellectual property law at the School of Law and Criminology, Maynooth University. You can find out more about the PatentsInHumans project at:

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