Owning and Disowning Invention

National Institute of Agricultural Botany History Day, NIAB Cambridge, 28 June, 2011.

Organised by NIAB-TAG and the Owning and Disowning Invention Project.

The Work and Legacy of Sir Rowland Biffen - Berris Charnley (University of Leeds)

About the NIAB History Day

NIAB's history day brought together around 40 of the institute's former and current staff for an entertaining afternoon of looking backwards to the institute's past and forwards to its future. Tony Pexton introduced the afternoon with a summary of some of NIAB's current activities and some of its future directions. Dr Andy Greenland talked next about his research on the genetic transformation of wheat and other cereal crops and NIAB's position in the innovation pipeline. Finally, a paper from Berris Charnley (University of Exeter) explored some interesting features of the institute's establishment and early history. A series of posters, matched with items from NIAB's archive, and produced by Dominic Berry (University of Leeds) provided insights into the institute's century of innovation in plant variety development, trialling and regulation. The afternoon ended with a trip to the NIAB plots and Innovation Farm to see some of the latest developments at the institute.

About this speaker

Berris is in the fourth year of his PhD thesis working under the provisional title, "Agricultural Science and the Emergence of a Mendelian System in Britain 1880-1930". His thesis is part of a wider AHRC funded project running in collaboration between the Universities of Leeds and Bristol and titled, "Owning and Disowning Invention: Intellectual Property, Authority and Identity in British Science and Technology, 1880-1920".

More from Berris Charnley


"Seeds without Patents: Science and Morality in British Plant Breeding in the Long Nineteenth Century", forthcoming Revue Economique 2011.

Plant Breeding and Intellectual Property Before and After the Rise of Mendelism: The Case of Britain, (co-authored with Gregory Radick) presented at the Living Properties Workshop, MPIWG, 2008.


Berris Charnley (4 June 2011), "Why didn't an equivalent to the US Plant Patent Act of 1930 emerge in Britain?" Presented at Plants, Animals and Ownership: Innovation and Intellectual Property Protection in Living Organisms Since the 18th Century, 3-5 June, 2011, Yale.