Monday, January 12, 2015

Patent Traps For Synthetic Biology

In its January 2015 issue, the leading journal of biotechnology, Nature Biotechnology, published a commentary on the role of patents in synthetic biology and technical standards-setting by law professors Jorge Contreras (Utah), Arti Rai (Duke), and I, entitled "Intellectual property issues and synthetic biology standards".  The University of Kansas reported on our article on January 12, 2015.  In our commentary, we argue that intellectual property issues, especially those relating to patent rights, should be fully considered prior to the adoption of any synthetic biology technical standard to avoid situations in which intellectual property rights could do harm to the standard adopted.  One of the strengths of synthetic biology is the prevailing ethos of open innovation.  We urge that open innovation, to remain open, must be careful not to fall into avoidable patent traps.