What do the latest Goncourt Prize, Pfizer's messenger RNA vaccine Pfizer messenger RNA vaccine and the video game Fortnite? All three are all three are "goods resulting from the production of the human mind and therefore potentially fall under intellectual property law", explains Agnès Robin explains Agnès Robin*, a professor and researcher in private law law, a specialist in the field.

"My family made me aware very early on of the issues of artistic creation, but also of technology and information technology. This was undoubtedly one of the reasons why the young Agnès Robin, then a law student at Nanterre, decided to take what was only an optional subject in the mid-1990s: intellectual property law. " The code that governed it in 1992 was four times thinner than that of 2020," recalls with a smile the woman who now directs the highly regarded master's degree in intellectual property and digital law.

Aesthetic and technical creations

Although intellectual property rights were born at the end of the 18th century with the advent of industrial capitalism, it was in the second half of the 20th century that they really took off.
the second half of the 20th century that they really took off. The boom in the cultural and creative industries, and then of course the development of digital technology, established the essential role of these rights. All these industries operate on and thanks to the exploitation of intellectual property rights," stresses Agnès Robin. These rights play an active part in the strategy of companies, whether in the cultural or technological field, because they are instruments for enhancing the value of intellectual assets.

The strategy of companies, but also that of public research establishments, as Agnès Robin noted when, as a doctoral student, she replaced her position in the development and partnership department of the CNRS 'which was a pioneer in this policy. I drew up contracts with industrialists and thus negotiated the co-ownership of the results of public research. That's when I realised that there was a subject that had not yet been exploited. Intellectual co-ownership will be the subject of his thesis and the main focus of his research work.

The challenge of open science

The numerous reforms that will affect higher education and research, and in particular the one on university autonomy, place intellectual property law more than ever at the heart of their development. "Universities develop a lot of applied research, and therefore often patentable, in the context of partnerships with
universities develop a lot of applied research, and therefore oftenpatentable research, in the context of partnerships with industry," explains the researcher. This is a way of getting companies to invest in public research. It is also a real lever for public research establishments to promote the results of their teams.

In the age of open data, a new challenge is now facing intellectual property law specialists: open science. This policy encourages the dissemination of research data through open access and therefore raises the question of the legal status of this data. This is a subject on which the researcher has been working for four years as part of the interdisciplinary CommonData project. "This question requires the articulation of numerous systems that are not always consistent with each other: the intellectual property code, the research code and the code of relations between the public and the administration, which governs the opening up of public data, etc. When intellectual property gives rise to a nice headache.


*UMR Dynamique du droit (UM - CNRS)