I graduated from the University of Melbourne with honours degrees in both law and science, and I recently submitted my PhD at the University of Tasmania. My PhD examined whether Australian patent law is handling emergent technological and legal issues consistently with its underpinning justifications.

I am broadly interested in the development and use of new technology. I am interested in this because it has the ability to drive economies forward and increase public welfare. To this end, and as a lawyer with scientific training, much of my research focuses on the ability of patent law to meet its welfare-enhancing goal of incentivising the creation of new technology. In medicine and life-sciences — special interests of mine — this focus is particularly important, but it is also quite complex, often requiring multi-disciplinary analysis and research beyond doctrinal-legal reasoning. I enjoy this challenge and enjoy designing research to answer questions in these and related fields.

I am currently working with Dr Kathy Liddell on a research project titled, “Realising Genomic Medicine: Intellectual Property Issues Beyond the ‘Old’ DNA Patent Debates”. In this project we are investigating two ways in which intellectual property interacts with the realisation of clinically-useful genetic developments.


Intellectual property; Patent law; Biotechnology; Personalised medicine; Regulation of innovation; Regulation of information.


Key publications:

Liddicoat, JE, Whitton, T, Nicol D, “Are the Gene-Patent Storm Clouds Dissipating? A Global Snapshot” (2015) 33(4) Nature Biotechnology 347.

Liddicoat, JE, “Reluctance realised? Emerging Problems with s 117(2)(b) Patents Act 1990 (Cth)” (2015) in press, Monash Law Review.

Liddicoat, JE, “Re-Evaluating Innocent Infringement in Australia: Patent Numbers and Virtual Marking” (2014) 25 Australian Intellectual Property Journal 18.

Nicol, D and Liddicoat, JE, “Do Patents Impede the Provision of Genetic Tests in Australia?” (2013) 37 Australian Health Review, 281.

Nicol, D, Hagger MC and Liddicoat, JE, “Time to Get Serious About Privacy Policies: the Special Case of Genetic Privacy” (2014) 42 Federal Law Review 149.

Social Science Research for the 21st Century - Progress through Partnership

Email: philomathia@admin.cam.ac.uk