Update: This week at Psychedelic Science 2023, PBA will present Part 2 of the Law & Ethics series

This week at Psychedelic Science 2023, PBA will present Part 2 of the Law & Ethics series, Opening Our Toolbox for Ethical IP. If you are unable to join us in person, don’t worry, this discussion will be recorded and up on PBA’s Events page.





June 20, 2023 @ 4:55 pm MT


Psychedelic Science 2023, Denver CO (a live recording will be available post-event)


Patents by their very nature provide mechanisms for exclusion and extraction. By their design, patents erect fences and annex value for the benefit of the few. And where what’s patented has centuries or millennia of Indigenous and traditional use underlying it, “invention” might rather seem appropriation. Strong patent rights also risk chilling practices which are properly in the public domain. All the while, those developing psychedelic medicines through the Western medical model claim that without patents, patients may never see new treatments. In Part 2 of this series, we ask if there are ways to address these concerns, and ask how they can (and should) be balanced. We take steps along a path toward what we might call “ethical IP,” and start setting out some tools that could be used along the way. We will first discuss the creation and use of patent “pledges,” and the circumstances in which they might dispel certain concerns around the ownership and use of IP. We will next discuss IP “commoning,” and how it could offer a legal framework to construct an ethical IP community. We will explain how IP commons are built, teach techniques for making IP commons ethical, and discuss certain emerging possibilities around web3-enabled commoning and “decentralized science.” While some may still seek to abandon the system of patent rights entirely, we aim to address the most apparent conflicts by providing a set of tools and the means to develop additional ones, so that participants in the psychedelics space can work toward a system of ethical IP that could respect and honor all stakeholders.  



Parts 3 & 4 (details & dates to-be-announced) will present on International laws, US state-level law reform, and companies and organizations that are on the forefront of stakeholder engagement, consent, access, and benefit-honoring.

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