Medicine, Patenting & Ownership in Historical Perspective
An international and interdisciplinary workshop
Thackray Medical Museum, Leeds, UK
14-15 July 2014

As part of the AHRC Research Network “Rethinking Patenting Cultures”, colleagues are invited to attend this two-day workshop on the history of patenting and ownership in the history of medicine and healthcare. This event will see scholars from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds come together to examine the role which intellectual property, broadly construed, has played in a shifting medical landscape, from the development of new surgical instruments and techniques in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through to the impact of patenting practices on the distribution of modern pharmaceuticals.

The symposium will take place at the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds which houses an internationally significant collection of historic medical objects and texts. The full programme is appended below, and is also available through the website.

Registration: A very limited number of places are available at the workshop for non-speakers and these will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. Please visit the project website to register, specifying “Workshop 2”. A registration fee is payable to cover catering costs. Please address any queries to the Network Administrator, Carl Warom.


Day 1: Monday 14th July

1 – 1.45pm – Lunch

1.45 – 2pm – Introduction and Outline, James Stark (University of Leeds)

2 – 3.30pm – Session 1: Secrecy and Reward. ‘Authority and Ownership:  The Growth and Wilting of Medicine Patenting in Georgian England’, Alan Mackintosh (University of Leeds); ‘Public Rewards or Patents? Parliament and Medical Innovation in the Early Nineteenth Century’, Robert Burrell (University of Sheffield) and Catherine Kelly (University of Western Australia).

3.30 – 3.50pm – Coffee

3.50 – 5.20pm – Session 2: Surgery ‘“Recompense the Sacrifice”: Awarding and Managing Credit in Nineteenth-Century Surgery’, Sally Frampton (Oxford University); ‘Patents, Innovation, and the Transformation of Surgical Instruments in response to Antisepsis and Asepsis, 1885-1925: The Artifact Evidence’, James Edmonson (Case Western Reserve University)

6 – 7pm, Public Panel Debate (Centenary Gallery, University of Leeds) ‘Performing Surgery: Practice and Reconstruction’ Roger Kneebone (Imperial) and others

Day 2: Tuesday 15th July 

9.30 – 11am – Session 3: Medical Technologies ‘Patenting X-ray Machines in Japan, 1900-1945’ Pierre-Yves Donze (Kyoto University); ‘The Elixir of Life Machine: Patents and the Overbeck Rejuvenator’, James Stark (University of Leeds)

11 – 11.20am – Coffee

11.20am – 12.50pm – Session 4: Contraceptives and Drugs: ‘Marketing Contraception and Control: Medical Advertising the Pill in the US and Western Europe during the 1960s and 1970s’, Agata Ignaciuk (University of Granada); ‘Black Market Drugs: Pharmaceutical Patenting, Price Monopolies, and the Bifurcation of Therapeutic of Markets in the United States, 1887-1914’, Joseph Gabriel (Florida State University)

12.50 – 2pm – Lunch

2 – 3.30pm – Session 5: Medical Patenting and the Law ‘Revisiting the Exclusion of Methods of Medical Treatment in the United Kingdom and Europe’, Eddy Ventose (University of the West Indies); ‘Pricing Pharma: Constructing Markets through Patent and Competition Laws’. Shubha Ghosh (University of Wisconsin)

3.30 – 4pm – Closing Roundtable Discussion ‘What can we learn from the history of medical patenting?’


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