The introduction puts the US and European life form patent controversies into broader context of conflicts over intellectual property rights and science and technology policymaking. It suggests that the rise of social movement engagement with patent systems worldwide is part a broader phenomenon of growing citizen distrust in government and frustration that innovation policy does not reflect public needs and concerns. It argues that in order to understand, and reform, patent systems in the public interest, policymakers, innovators, and the public must look beyond the law. They must consider the social and political construction of patents, and patent systems. To make this argument, it introduces the idea that political culture and ideology have led the United States and Europe to define patents, and patent systems, in fundamentally different ways. This has implications for how the two places understand expertise in the patent system, appropriate participants and participation, and the role of the patent system overall. The introduction also briefly reviews the qualitative methods of data collection and analysis for the book, which include interviews, participant observation, document and historical analysis (this is discussed in more detail in the Methodological Appendix).
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