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University of Pennsylvania

Intellectual Property in the Healthcare Industry

University of Pennsylvania via Coursera


This course begins with an overview of general intellectual property law in the United States, then examines how the policy choices behind those laws shapes the behavior of major players in the healthcare industry. We will examine how patents and trademarks shape the behavior of pharmaceutical companies, and how complex issues involving medical research in university settings, and ownership of genetic information and material, are resolved by intellectual property laws. The course concludes with in-depth case studies of an international pharmaceutical company, a major medical device company, and a start-up in the emerging DNA-testing industry.


  • Existing Intellectual Property Protection in the U.S.
    • This module will introduce the concept of intellectual property and explain how it creates value. You will learn about the major forms of intellectual property protection in the United States - copyright, trademarks, and patents, as well as alternative forms of intellectual property protection.
  • Philosophical and Economic Justifications of IP Rights
    • Why have intellectual property protection at all? This module examines the effect of intellectual property law on the modern economy, and the policy reasons behind providing intellectual property protection.
  • Special Intellectual Property Rules for Healthcare
    • This module will explore the innovative ways in which intellectual property law has responded to the unique demands and features of the modern healthcare industry.
  • Case Studies in Intellectual Property
    • This module takes an in-depth look at the intellectual property strategies of three major healthcare companies: 23 and Me, Novartis, and Medtronic.

Taught by

R. Polk Wagner


4.8 rating at Coursera based on 120 ratings

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