SOAS University of London

School of Law

Dr Hu Yuan Qiong

LLB (Shandong University), LLM (Shandong University), LLM (SOAS), MPhil (University of Oslo), PhD (SOAS)
  • Research


Hu Yuan Qiong
School of Law

Post-Doctoral Research Associate

Law, Environment and Development Centre (LEDC)


Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD)

Tutor, Multinational Enterprises in a Globalising World

Dr Hu Yuan Qiong
Email address:
Paul Webley Wing (Senate House)
Thesis title:
Rethinking Patent Centric Biomedical Innovation: Towards an Alternative Conceptual Framework Building.
Year of Study:
Year of Entry: 2013-14


Hu Yuanqiong is a lawyer and Postdoctoral Research Associate at the School of Law, SOAS. Yuan works as Senior Legal and Policy Advisor for the Access Campaign of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors without Borders) with a focus on access to medicines and intellectual property, providing legal advice related to multiple jurisdictions including India, South Africa, China, Brazil, US, South Korea and the European Patent Office. She worked as Teaching Fellow in intellectual property law at Durham University, and completed her PhD in Law at SOAS on “Rethinking Patent Centric Biomedical Innovation: Towards an Alternative Conceptual Framework Building” in 2018.

Yuan’s current research focuses on reconceptualising biomedical innovation, with a critical and interdisciplinary approach to the intersections and co-production of law, society, science and technologies. She interrogates the role of expertise and professions in norm making and aims to explore the alternative conceptual framework for biomedical innovation in contrast to the patent centric paradigm. She is also interested in and has research experiences in international human rights law, public international law and international environmental law.

Yuan has published several articles on the topic of intellectual property and access to medicines, including a co-authored article of ‘Medical Patents and the Right to Health – From Monopoly Control to Open Access Innovation and Provision of Medicines’ published on the German Yearbook of International Law, Vol 61 (2019), and "Resistance and Consistent: Access to Medicines and Patent Law Reforms in India and China", No.3 (2016) SOAS Law Working Paper Series. She also presented several conference papers based on her research, including the recent papers of ‘Communities, Properties and Biomedical Knowledge through International Human Rights Lens’ presented at  the Conference of ‘Protecting Community Interests under International Law: Challenges and Prospects for the 21st Century’ at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo in June 2019, ‘Realignment of Innovators: Patents, Norms and Social-Technical Creativities in Biomedicine’ and ‘The Role of Legal Profession and Expertise in Patent and Biomedical Innovation Discourse’ presented at the Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference in April 2019, University of Leeds.

Previously, Yuan also conducted consultancies for Asia and Pacific Regional Office of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), MSF and Third World Network on patent and access to medicines, and for Save the Children UK on post-2015 development policies.

PhD Research

The insertion of intellectual property law in international trade treaties has facilitated the global expansion of patent regime, including those concerning biomedical technologies used to address health challenges. The increasing number of patents, however, does not translate into sufficient responses to health innovation needs in the reality. Patent law doctrine regards inventions has also failed to adequately accommodate innovations derived from traditional medical knowledge and practices.

Considerable critiques have been made on the conflict between the strong proprietary protection and the insufficient innovation for health, as well as the pertinent contingency between openness and enclosure in patent regime. And yet, the central conceptual and doctrinal paths within patent law regime keep evolving regardless of the critiques from outside, and looking at patent as an indispensable route to innovation remains the mainstream policy discourse at international and national levels. In this context, the legal construction of the notion of innovation through patent law practice has provided the material foundation for the law and policy debates related to biomedical research and development. At the same time, the technological changes for biomedical research have on another hand kept redefining the boundary of patent law.

The research intends to provide an alternative critique by exploring the co-production of patent law doctrines on biomedical inventions through the interplay of science and technologies with law. It would look at the role of expertise in the process of this legal construction, the reflection of such construction in social political spheres regarding the discourse of biomedical innovation, and to discuss the alternative conceptual framework on the issue.


  • "Resistance and Consistent: Access to Medicines and Patent Law Reforms in India and China", No.3 2016, SOAS Law Working Paper Series 
  • King's Think Tank post on Access to Medicines - "Argue with an Academic -- Yuanqiong Hu on Access to Medicines"
  • Cullet, Philippe & Hu, Yuanqiong (2019). Medical Patents and the Right to Health – From Monopoly Control to Open Access Innovation and Provision of Medicines. In German Yearbook of International Law. von der Decken, Kerstin Matz-Lück, Nele & von Arnauld, Andreas Duncker & Humblot. 61: 153-182." 
  • Tomlinson, C., Waterhouse, C., Hu, Yuanqiong., Meyer, S. & Moyo, H. (2019). How patent law reform can improve affordability and accessibility of medicines in South Africa: Four medicine case studies. South African Medical Journal 109(6): 387-391.


  • "Groups, Meanings and the Dynamics of (Re-)Construction: Analysis of the Discourse on Patent and Health before the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patent", at the Intellectual Property stream, Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Newcastle, 05 April, 2017
  • "Access to Science and Pharmaceutical Patent Production: Incoherence, Debates and the Role of Expertise", at LEDC Seminar Series, 23 March, 2017, SOAS
  • "Intellectual Property Rules in TRIPS and Free Trade Agreements: Perspectives from Access to Medicines and Innovation’, at the panel on ‘How to Enhance Synergies between Public Health Objectives and Trade Agreements", WTO Workshop on Trade and Public Health , Geneva, 20 October, 2016
  • "Knowledge Commons, Health Innovation and Patent Law", at the LEDC organised panel on ‘Law, Commons and Sustainable Development Goals—Exploring Law’s Role in Promoting Sustainability of the Commons’, IASC  (International  Association for the Study of the Commons) Regional Conference (Europe) , University of Bern, 13 May, 2016
  • "Intellectual Property and Access to Health Technologies’, at the Workshop on ‘Making Technological Innovation works for Sustainable Development", Harvard Kennedy School of Government and UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEPP), 11 May, 2016
  • "Converging of Forums or Identifying the Gaps? Discourse and Challenges in the context of Intellectual Property, Access to Medicines and Investor-State Dispute Settlement Proceeding--- Preliminary Observations through the Participation in Eli Lily and Company vs. Canada Amicus Curiae Drafting", at the Workshop on ‘Rethinking International Investment Law: Civic Advocacy, Representation and Participation in the International Investment Regime’, Centre of Law, Regulation and Governance of the Global Economy, School of Law, University of Warwick, 3-4 May, 2016
  • "Three Patent Law Revisions and One More: Relevance and Dilemmas concerning Access to Medicines and Innovation in China", Centre of East Asia Law, School of Law, SOAS, University of London, 18 April, 2016
  • “Patentability as a Social Legal Bargaining: Discussions on Second Medical Use Patent in the Context with focus on Lyrica Case UK", at Social-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference, University of Lancaster, 05 April, 2016
  • Moving Away or Shifting Within? Review of New Trends of Critiques on Law and Economics Justification of Patent from Perspective of Health Innovation”, at SOAS Law PhD Colloquium 2015, School of Oriental and African Studies, May 21, 2015
  • “Politics of Voluntary License on Pharmaceutical Patents: A Preliminary Discussion”, at Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) 2015 Conference, University of Warwick, April 02, 2015
  • “Enough for Innovation? Discussion on Research and Experimental Exception of Patent in the Context of Medical Innovation”, at University College Dublin, Sutherland School of Law, Postgraduate Workshop, May 23, 2014.
  • “Forum of Resistance through a Comparative Lens: Access to Medicines and Patent Law Reform in India and China”, Panel on Private vs. Public Interests in Patent over Biotechnology: Implications on Developed and Developing Countries, Edinburgh Postgraduate Law Conference on ‘Law, Individual, Community’, University of Edinburgh, UK, 2 December, 2013
  • “Battle with the Invisibles: Pharmaceutical Patent in China and the Impact on Access to Medicines”, Track 3: Intellectual Property and the Public Interest: Global Questions, Local Answers,  The 3rd Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest, Cape Town, South Africa, 11 December, 2013
  • One Year of Openness: Environmental Information Disclosure Laws in China and Pollution Information Transparency Index (PITI)”, The 7th Colloquium of The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, November 4, 2009

  • WIPO-WTO Advaced Course on Intellectual Property for Government Officials, 27 March, 2017
  • South Centre TRIPS Council Side Event, "Paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health: An Effective Solution?", 08 November 2016, WTO, Geneva
  • WTO Trade and Public Health Workshop, 17-21 October, 2016
  • WIPO-WTO Colloquium for Teachers of Intellectual Property, Theme 6: Intellectual Property and Public Health, 15 June, 2016
  • WIPO-WTO Advanced Course on Intellectual Property for Government Officials, 14 March, 2016
  • King’s Think Tank, Panel Speaker, ‘Medication: the Business of Access’, Guy’s Campus, King’s College London, 10 November, 2015
  • Panellist, WTO Public Forum 2015, “The TRIPS Agreement, Innovation & Access to Medicines: 20 Years On”, 02 October, 2015.
  • Lecturer, WIPO-WTO Advanced Course on Intellectual Property for Governmental Officials, 23 March, 2015
  • Panellist, “Philanthropy and Intellectual Property: Access to Drugs in Developing Countries”, Philanthropy Series,  Law School, University of Geneva, 13 March, 2015 (Forthcoming).
  • Chair, World Trade Organization Public Forum 2014 Series, “Innovation Hubs for the 21st Century: New Approaches to University IP Management ”, 01 October, 2014
  • "Multinational Enterprises and Environmental Justice: Laws and Implications of Shell Nigeria and BP Colombia Cases", LEDC Seminar Series, with Daniel Leader and Shubhaa Srinivasan from Leigh Day, 24 February 2016
  • SOAS Law, Development and Development Centre, Seminar on “Ensuring Innovation and Equitable Access to Medicines: Challenges and Possibilities for a New Global Framework for R&D” with Dr Suerie Moon from Harvard University, 24 October, 2013
  • MIP International Patent Forum, London, 8-9 March, 2017
  • SLSA Postgraduate Conference, 5-7 January , 2017, London
  • IP Case Law Seminar, Royal Society of Chemistry Law Group, London, 06 October , 2016
  • Science and Democracy Network 15th Annual Meeting, Harvard Science and Technology Studies (STS) Programme/ UCL /LSE, London, 23-25 June , 2016
  • Royal Society of Chemistry, Law Group Annual Seminar on Patent Case Law, Participation, 18 November, 2015, London
  • Royal Society of Chemistry, Law Group Patent Debate: ‘Does Chemistry Benefit from the Patent System?’, Participation, 28 October, 2015, London
  • MIP European Patent Reform Forum, Munich, September 08, 2015
  • MIP IP in Asia Forum 2015, London, June 09, 2015
  • The 5th MIP International Patent Forum, London, March 10-11, 2015


  • Law, Environment and Development Journal (LEAD), SOAS
  • The Society of Legal Scholars (SLS), UK
  • Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA), UK
  • Science and Democracy Network, Harvard University
  • Royal Society of Chemistry, UK
  • All China Lawyers Association
  • China Access to Medicines Research Group
  • Médecins Sans Frontières Hong Kong Association


  • International law
  • Intellectual property law
  • Intellectual property and innovation policies
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Environmental law
  • International political economy
  • Human rights