Ubaka Ogbogu is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, an Affiliate Faculty at the Center for Bioethics, and the Associate Director of Research and Education at the University’s Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences and the Joint Degree Program in Law, Health & the Life Sciences. He is also an Adjunct Research Associate at the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. He is currently completing a doctor of juridical science degree at the University of Toronto, researching whether legal intervention is a legitimate means of adjudicating scientific conflicts and whether such intervention in the past produced any relevant lessons for dealing with contemporary scientific controversies. His research interests include health law, public law theory, and the history of science regulation. He has done significant research on the ethical, legal, and social issues associated with emerging biotechnologies, including on issues linked with innovation and patent policies relevant to biomedical research. Ogbogu is a member of the Nigerian bar, and worked as an attorney at a leading Nigerian law firm before moving to Canada in 2002.
“The reason why I joined TIP is to help make a difference in parts of the world like Africa where the knowledge we produce here is making a huge impact.”
Ubaka’s work on innovation has spanned from his native Nigeria to research centres in Alberta and Minnesota. He left his practice with a leading law firm to conduct groundbreaking research on contemporary scientific controversies related to medicine and biotechnology. He is emerging as a world authority on the ethical, social and environmental issues related to IP and innovation.
What is the biggest challenge facing innovation at the moment?
“We need to come up new ways to measure intellectual property. Technology is moving faster than we can study or regulate it so we need to create empirical methods that can track our progress.”
What is one of the most influential books or articles you have read about innovation?
“I would say ‘Can patents deter innovation? The anti-commons in biomedical research’ by Heller and Eisenberg. It’s regarded by everyone as a fundamental article.”
Where do you see the future of innovation?
“There is a lot going on in North America so there will be a lot to tackle here for the next few years but emerging markets will soon take on an even greater importance.”
What is an important lesson from your research?
“If you’re going to start moving knowledge to other parts of the world, you have to first understand why you’re doing what you do. This is the only way to avoid making the same mistakes in the developing world.”