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Dr John Liddicoat

Dr John Liddicoat

Philomathia Post-doctoral Research Associate

Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences
Faculty of Law
10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ


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.

Research Interests

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.

Programme Logo

History of Wealth Project

This project, co-funded by the Philomathia Foundation and the Isaac Newton Trust, investigates the broader significance of wealth an inheritance in 19th and early-20th century Britain.

This programme was launched by POLIS in October 2013, and aims to train future policy-makers to value and promote evidence-based policies that can most benefit society.