PASSIMer of the month (Isabelle)

I am a Ph.D. candidate with an interest in how the patent office was constructed and presented to the public. My dissertation is part of the PASSIM project and explores the history of the Swedish Patent and Registration office, and how they created and communicated their history. As a Ph.D. candidate it is a privilege to be part of PASSIM and get a chance to learn from, and discuss research with, such established scholars and researchers.

My first article is about the jubilee exhibition of the Swedish Patent and Registration Office in 1941, and what kind of display technologies and narratives that were used to educate the public about the patent office and the patent system. My dissertation will contribute insight into how culture conventions and dominant norms have shaped the construction of the Swedish Patent and Registration Office narrative, and how the history was presented to the public discourse. I have been academically trained as an interdisciplinary researcher with a bachelor- and a master’s degree in culture, society, and media at the Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture at Linköping University.

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New Directions for India’s Patent Strategies?

In 2016 India adopted a National Intellectual Property Rights Policy dedicated to reinforcing ‘the strengths of IPRs to acquire both economic and social benefits’. At a first glance this new IPR policy looks like the last leg on a political and ideological journey that has taken India from independence in 1947 to a global economic power of the 21st century. My work within the Passim project will explore where this last leg leads, and what it says about the production and appropriation of knowledge in a postcolonial world.

In the 20th century India took a unique position in relation to global IPR policies. Beginning with the revision of India’s colonial IPR laws in the 1950s, India came to challenge a global patent agenda that was seen to serve the interests of industrialized economies at the expense of developing nations. In the following decades India carved out a space of agency within the increasingly globalized IPR regime. By adopting national patent laws that enabled local production of generic drugs, India not only served its domestic social need, but also became a supplier of generic drugs for other developing countries as well as vocal defender of global rights to medicine. Consequently, India was consistently targeted as a rouge state by American and European trade representatives and IP-organizations.

With the liberalization of the Indian economy and the increased globalization of the intellectual property rights in the 1990s, India took up a new route. After joining the WTO in 1995 India revised its IP laws to be TRIPS-compliant – a fact they consistently emphasize in the 2016 IPR-policy. In that regard, the new IPR policy seems to confirm that India has finally submitted to the global IPR-agenda. On the other hand, the 2016 IPR policy also highlights India’s role as a creator of IP, and it particularly emphasizes its rich body of traditional knowledge as a national resource of economic, cultural and social value that need to be protected against foreign exploitation. So while India’s new policymakers embrace the rhetoric of IP evangelism, they still emphasize national sovereignty and social needs.

This study departs from the assumption that India remains a proactive actor with its own agenda in the global IPR landscape, and it sets out to explore what that agenda is and how it is to be implemented. It thus remains to be seen whether India is looking to build a postcolonial or a post-postcolonial patent regime and what that means for the control and circulation of different forms of knowledge as patents.

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PASSIMer of the month (Hyo Yoon)

I teach intellectual property and related issues at the Kent Law School. As part of the PASSIM project, I will find out about scientists’ understanding and use of patents as a documentation and information source beyond the legal role of patents as property rights. Understanding the way in which a complex and coded legal writing such as a patent is read, used and employed beyond its intended function, I hope, will reveal how law represents and shapes other systems of knowledge, as well as itself being a distinctive one. The question of media and technique is central in this project, as is a reflection of the reading practices and interpretation of a specific genre.

Academically I have a multi-disciplinary training and background in law, politics, history of science and anthropological theory. This is an unintended result caused by the nature of the questions or problems that I have been interested in: I started out analysing the intersection of human genetics and human rights during my Master’s, then my doctoral dissertation explored the meaning of human person in human gene patents, which then led me to examine how scientific knowledge is represented and ordered in legal classifications, which was the subject my postdoc research. Looking back, one common thread throughout my work has been finding out about the concrete details of knowledge creation and wanderings, as well as abstraction and materiality.

Currently my home discipline is law, but throughout my academic training, I read and learned other disciplinary ‘canons’ and current debates in anthropology, philosophy, political and social theory, history of science, and science and technology studies. With hindsight I am grateful that I was expected to read whole books and/or difficult original primary texts during my school and university years. Realising as a teenager that it takes me a week to read and understand two pages of Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason helped me perhaps to work through an introduction into molecular biology textbook when I was doing a PhD. It definitely raised the frustration threshold! Pre-uni I was trained in music, which also involved substantial time and personal commitments, but also made me realise the benefits and drawbacks of an intense formation.

Different questions and issues demand different perspectives and approaches. The PASSIM project brings to the fore that a patent is/can function as public documentation. This in turn raises questions about the nature of publicness, documentation, information – and ultimately, proprietary boundaries. Patent is the ultimate boundary object in so many ways, and it is well approached for its full meaning and implication from multi- or trans-disciplinary perspectives. I am extremely fortunate and excited to be part of PASSIM both from the point of view of my research interests and its perfect fit, as well as having such a lovely group of colleagues to work with.

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PASSIM kicks off!

On January 17-18, 2018, I was delighted to welcome the PASSIM team for our kick-off meeting in Norrköping, Sweden. Snow was in the air, but fortunately both flights and trains ran (more or less) according to schedule. A kick-off is a thing to itself: a very important time in the life of a project, an opportunity to discuss, plan ahead and form a group of individuals into a team.

One of the truly fantastic things about the ERC grants is the fact that they run for five years. Five years! It seems almost impossible to be able to work, to read, to discuss, and to write on the topic of your project for such an extended period. An eternity, almost. But time is a funny thing in research. We measure it constantly in our line of work. Nonetheless, the idea of unbounded time is neither realistic, nor desirable.

In fact, one could argue that a five-year project comes alive when you start to talk about and plan around its built-in constraints – the fact that you’ve promised to do certain activities and that these activities, when you start thinking about when you’re supposed to do them, suddenly make unbounded time seem very bounded. And a good thing, too, I suspect.

It’s always been an ambition of mine that I, together with any team members I was working with, would find a way to document the process of working as a team in an interdisciplinary project. I still haven’t quite figured out exactly how to do this, but I remain convinced that the documentation of the way in which we work, talk, disagree and form some sort of community during an extended period is worth studying as a form of self-reflexive exercise in its own right. Maybe this blog is one way of doing precisely that.

Welcome to PASSIM!

 

Eva Hemmungs Wirtén and Johanna Dahlin in meeting room.

Eva Hemmungs Wirtén and Johanna Dahlin.

Mattis Karlsson and Gustav Källstrand talking together in meeting room.

Mattis Karlsson and Gustav Källstrand.

From left to right: José Bellido, Johanna Dahlin, Martin Fredriksson and Björn Hammarfelt

Thordis Arrhenius, Hyo Yoon Kang, Isabelle Strömstedt and Mattis Karlsson in meeting room.

Thordis Arrhenius, Hyo Yoon Kang, Isabelle Strömstedt and Mattis Karlsson.

Meeting room during seminar

PASSIM launch seminar held in Tvärsnittet, Kopparhammaren at Campus Norrköping, Linköping University.

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