1. Can we talk about this? The role of intellectual property in the collaborative design of new agricultural technologies 

Authors: Karly Burch*, University of Otago, Katharine Legun, Wageningen University, Hugh Campbell, University of Otago
Topics: Food Systems, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: science and technology, agriculture, food, robotics, intellectual property, collaberative design
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 38
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Collaborative design (co-design) has become a popular method for ensuring new technologies are beneficial to users and society at large by including those people whose lives will be impacted by new technologies as active and ongoing collaborators in design processes. However, the widening of collaborators in the design process also widens research aims, an expansion which requires attention and balance within the research process. These aims might include co-defining what counts as a beneficial technology, co-designing technologies that are beneficial for society, advancing science, and producing novel intellectual property (IP). In this paper we explore the particular role of IP in inclusive and responsible co-design processes, and how IP-based goals and procedures might affect the co-design process—particularly the ability of research teams to engage in generative discussions about technologies and socio-technical futures when there are certain aspects of the design process that cannot be openly discussed. We draw on experiences from the MaaraTech project—a five-year trans-disciplinary project co-designing agricultural technologies in Aotearoa New Zealand—to explore the benefits and tensions IP poses to co-design processes. We conclude by proposing possible strategies for carefully calibrating competing research aims in ways that might produce the best outcomes for collaboratively and responsibly designing new agricultural technologies.

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