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Biotech Patents Science

Patents On Synthetic Life "Extremely Damaging" 171

An anonymous reader writes "Pioneer and veteran of genomics Professor John Sulston is extremely concerned about the patent applications on the first synthetic life-form. The patents were filed by the Venter Institute following the announcement of the first life-form to have a synthetic genome. Sulston claims the patent is excessively broad and would stifle research and development in the field by creating an effective monopoly on synthetic life and related molecular techniques. Prof. Sulston had previously locked horns ten years ago with Dr. Craig Venter over intellectual property issues surrounding the human genome project. Fortunately, Sulston won the last round and the HGP is freely accessible — Venter had wanted to charge for access, just as he now wishes to make 'synthetic life' proprietary."
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Patents On Synthetic Life "Extremely Damaging"

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  • by master5o1 ( 1068594 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @08:30AM (#32334504) Homepage

    It's like a company that tries to patent an object that has four wheels, a steering wheel, a wind shield and an engine.

  • Re:Time to go.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by confused one ( 671304 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @09:00AM (#32334772)
    It's too late. There's already large sections of your genome that have been patented by various companies.
  • Re:Exter ... ? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @09:59AM (#32335556)

    There was one, before the typo in the news title was corrected.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @11:40AM (#32336910)

    Reality: Average Joe invents something. Average Joe has the foresight to patent it. Corporation X sees invention and mass-produces it for less than Average Joe can. Average Joe sues Corporation X, but is told that his estimated legal costs for the case will be $1,500,000 once they have done stalling and playing games. Corporation X offers to buy Joe's patent for a pitance, and Joe relctantly agrees.

  • Re:Oh it's fine. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @02:16PM (#32339120)

    @Aphoxema: my guess is you are a Monsanto employee because if there's one company being terribly irresponsible with their patents on LIFE (which I can think should be forbidden), it would be Monsanto.
    Please watch the documentary "Food Inc." and you'll see the true face of this horrible company.

    I'm talking:
    - seeds with suicide gens in them so farmers can only use them once
    - plants that grow only once and do not provide seeds at all, so they have to be bought again at Monsanto
    - 70 Monsanto employees scouring the US 24/7 looking for patent infringements and when they find farmers that reuse their seeds those are put out of business

    The sad example where the seeds of a farmer using Monsanto seeds blew over to his neighbor who did not use those seeds and Monsanto now suing the neighboring farmer for illegally using their seeds...

    Yes, very responsible indeed.

    It all comes down to the fact that patenting life is simply outrageous. But I'm afraid the Monsanto case has set a precedent and the current applications will be successful.

    But once again, watch "Food Inc." and form your own opinion.

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