By Janet Hope
Battling illness, struggling with starvation, retaining the stability of existence on the earth: the way forward for biotechnological innovation could be the way forward for our planet itself. And but the vexed kingdom of highbrow estate law--a proliferation of ever extra complicated rights governing examine and development--is complicating this destiny. At an analogous aspect within the improvement of knowledge know-how, "open resource" software program revolutionized the sphere, concurrently encouraging innovation and remodeling markets. The query that Janet wish explores in Biobazaar is: can the open resource technique do for biotechnology what it has performed for info know-how? Her booklet is the 1st sustained and systematic inquiry into the applying of open resource rules to the existence sciences. The allure of the open resource approach--famously likened to a "bazaar," unlike the extra conventional "cathedral" type of expertise development--lies in its safeguarding of group entry to proprietary instruments with no discouraging beneficial advertisement participation. Traversing disciplinary limitations, wish offers a cautious research of highbrow property-related demanding situations confronting the biotechnology after which paints an in depth photograph of "open resource biotechnology" as a potential resolution. With insights drawn from interviews with Nobel Prize-winning scientists and leaders of the loose and open resource software program movement--as good as corporation executives, foreign policymakers, licensing specialists, and analysts--her ebook means that open resource biotechnology is either fascinating and extensively feasible--and, in lots of methods, only looking ahead to its second.
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Extra resources for Biobazaar: The Open Source Revolution and Biotechnology
Perhaps unexpectedly, patent records provide no more than a starting point for this search. They show the identity of the original patent owner (or owners), but information about any subsequent assignments is not so readily available. A relevant patent may have changed hands more than once, and the rights associated with it may already have been split up among a number of licensees. 44 If you are even less lucky, your efforts to make contact with a prospective licensor may be ignored or summarily rebuffed: outright refusal to grant patent licenses is not unknown, especially where the person requesting a license has nothing valuable to offer the licensor apart from a license fee.
But this is not enough by itself to bring about a tragedy of the anticommons. Such a tragedy is not inevitable, even in the face of proliferating intellectual property rights, provided transaction costs can be kept low. Contracting for Knowledge in Biotechnology What sorts of transaction costs are associated with the transfer of information among participants in biotechnology research and development? 36 Listed thus, these problems seem rather abstract. To gain a more concrete grasp of the realities they represent, in the discussion that follows it will be useful for the reader to take a mental step outside the well-equipped, well-funded laboratory of a researcher employed by a large company or top-ranking university in Europe or the United States.
The sequencing effort, which so captured the public imagination on both sides of the Atlantic in the early years of the new millennium, was subject throughout the 1990s to sporadic eruptions of controversy over private ownership of research results. In fact, the first such eruption occurred in 1991 and 1992, even as my first undergraduate cohort sat simultaneously learning about osmosis and using it to absorb the precepts of open, curiositydriven research. The figure at the center of the storm was none other than Craig Intellectual Property in Biotechnology • 37 Venter himself, then an in-house researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).