Document Type


Publication Date

April 2016


This chapter focuses on the ways in which intellectual property law can act as a barrier to data sharing. Intellectual property laws supply exclusive rights that can enable a researcher, employer or funder to ‘own’ data; they can then bring legal claims against persons who access or reuse data without permission. Some of these rights attach automatically to data, data sets, or databases, and thus must be managed properly to enable robust data sharing in climate science. Other rights are created by contract, and the policies around such privately created rights must be understood and analyzed. This chapter briefly describes the variety of climate data needed by researchers and the role of intellectual property and related rights in governing access to and use of such data.


This innovative research tool presents insights from a global group of leading intellectual property, environment, trade, and industrial scholars on the emerging and controversial topic of intellectual property and climate change. It provides a unique review of the scientific background, international treaties, and political context of climate change; identifies critical conflicts and differences of approach; and describes the relevant intellectual property law doctrines and policy options for regulating, developing, or disseminating needed technologies, activities, and business practices.