William Lesser
Cornell University

Fifteen years ago, the ‘tragedy of the anticommons’ article warned that excessive patenting of biotech products and research methods could deter rather than stimulate invention, but little evidence was offered. Here, subsequent changes in patent law, public research support, and surveys of researchers are summarized. Results indicate the anticipated anticommons has not materialized significantly, and while ongoing monitoring is warranted, declining public research funding may necessitate more patenting to stimulate private investment.

Key words: Anticommons, changes patent practice, patent thicket, research privatization.