Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, intellectual property rights (IPRs) have become increasingly important in many areas of science, including (and perhaps especially) biomedical research. This is evidenced by a dramatic rise in patenting activity. Between 1983 and 2003, the number of patents issued to U.S. universities rose from 434 to 3,259 (Walsh et al. 2007: 1184); patenting in biotechnology has also risen significantly, from 2,000 in 1985 to over 13,000 in 2000 (Walsh et al. 2003: 293). Other countries have witnessed similar trends (American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2007a).