Lessons from Technology and Intellectual Property in the Oil and Gas Industry in Scotland: a Scholarly Journey and an Empirical Review

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This article explores the intersection between regulation and community practice in the energy sector in Scotland, from the perspective of providing a base for new approaches to the development of new technologies. Consideration of this is timely, given the possibility of Scotland becoming independent and no longer subject to obligations of the European Union and the World Trade Organisation in respect of intellectual property (IP): Scotland may be able to make new choices in respect of the regulation of innovation. The concurrent presence of particular forms of regulation and sharing in the energy sector suggested an approach which enabled innovation to be encouraged whilst remaining attractive to investors and avoiding the significant power conferred by IP (which has itself led to concerns by scholars and activists). This article analyses a pilot set of empirical interviews testing the intersection between the regulation and sharing, in which it was established that they are quite distinct; one could not argue, then, for the suggested approach on the basis that it drew from the established practice in a successful industry. The regulation and sharing practices provide a solution, however, to a new issue which arose from the interviews - the comparative lack of embracing of new technologies in the oil and gas industry in Scotland. If it is adopted, analysis of this solution would contribute to the scholarly debate regarding private and public control of innovation and technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-37
Number of pages29
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2014

Bibliographical note

The author would like to thank all those who kindly agreed to be interviewed in the pilot study, and those who suggested possible interviewees. Thanks also to Professor John Paterson, Professor Peter Duff and Greg Gordon of the Law School, University of Aberdeen, for their helpful comments, and to anonymous peer reviewers from SCRIPT-ed.


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