Posted on June 8, 2007  Comments (1)

New Life, New Patent by Carl Zimmer:

ETC is right in suggesting Venter might become “Microbesoft”–controlling operating system for anyone who wants to build an organism from scratch. Other researchers, such as Keasling, are promoting a different way of doing synthetic biology–what they call open source biology. Scientists and their students are amassing an open inventory of parts that anyone can use to design organisms of their own. And it’s open source biology, these researchers argue, that will provide the best protection against any evil uses of synthetic biology. Instead of being hidden behind patents, the information about these parts would be available to everyone, and collectively solutions could be found. As this debate starts to unfold, I think open source biology will keep it from becoming nothing but deja vu.

I support keeping science open. Patents are a tax on society that the government grants inventors for their efforts, in order to benefit society, by encouraging the inventors to innovate. The end is benefiting society. The means is granting a right of the patent holder (a right they do not have without patent law) that will encourage them to make the effort to innovate. I support the proper use of patents, but we have perverted the patent process into something that harms society. The system needs to be fixed. And the whole area of patents on life I find very questionable.

Related: Open-Source BiotechThe Effects of Patenting on Science by the AAASSoftware Patents – Bad IdeaInnovation Impact of Companies and Countries

One Response to “Life-patents”

  1. CuriousCat: Handcrafted Chromosomes
    December 18th, 2007 @ 2:51 pm

    “LS9 Inc., a company in San Carlos, Calif., is already using E. coli bacteria that have been reprogrammed with synthetic DNA to produce a fuel alternative from a diet of corn syrup and sugar cane…”

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