Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Synthesizing Law For Synthetic Biology

Earlier this year, I was commissioned by the National Academies to write a report on synthetic biology, standards setting, and intellectual property, which I co-authored with Linda Kahl, and presented at the National Academies in Washington, D.C., on October 4, 2012, as part of the Symposium on Management of Intellectual Property in Standard-Setting Processes.  Our report, entitled Synthetic Biology Standards and Intellectual Property, as well as my presentation, are both freely available here.  On October 31, 2012, the University of Kansas released this press release describing my involvement with the National Academies in preparing and presenting our report.  Among the findings in our report was the following:

Patent rights that encumber components and methods have long been a concern among those in synthetic biology, especially as a perceived threat to the field’s prominent ethos of open biological innovation. Currently, there is little evidence that patent rights adversely affect synthetic biological research...In fact, the patent-eligibility of DNA molecules has been put in doubt by several conflicting U.S. court decisions...What is certain is that the synthetic biology community is unusually attuned to debates surrounding intellectual property and standards setting, and views its engagement in these debates as vital to ensure the continued success of synthetic biology. 

Anyone interested in learning more about synthetic biology, biotechnology, and intellectual property law is welcome to download free copies of the following articles:  (1) Synthesizing Law for Synthetic Biology, (2) Gene Concepts, Gene Talk, and Gene Patents, (3) DNA Copyright, and (4) Planted Obsolescence:  Synagriculture and the Law