The Open Source Biotechnology Movement: Is ItPatent Misuse?
INTRODUCTIONIn the field of biotechnology, fledgling efforts are underway to establish open source projects.
Borrowing conceptsfrom the open source software movement, these projects createcooperative exchanges in which life science inventions areopenly available to a broad research community.
* Assistant Professor, U.C. Hastings College of the Law. I am gratefulto Margreth Barrett, Dan Burk, Larry Lessig and Brad Rosenblatt for theircomments on prior drafts. I am also indebted to Amy Hsaio and Charlie Choufor their research assistance.1.
Stephen M. Maurer et al.,
Finding Cures for Tropical Diseases: IsOpen Source an Answer?, in
33, 33-36 (Lynn Yarris ed., 2004) (discussing convergence of computing,biology, and open source for drug discovery),
] (promotingutilization of open source techniques in developing a haplotype map of thehuman genome)
http://www.hapmap.org/abouthapmap.html (last modifiedJune 4, 2004); B
(explainingthe mission of Bioinformatics.Org is “providing free and open resources forresearch, development and education”),
http://bioinformatics.org/about/plan-20020920.pdf (Sept. 20, 2002); Pamela Jones,
Interview: Public PatentFoundation's Dan Ravicher
(explaining the Public Patent Foundation’s goal of developing a system of protected commons for markets that are hampered bythe presence of so many patent rights that it is difficult for researchers tooperate),
http://lwn.net/Articles/64378/ (Dec. 23, 2003); Graeme O’Neill,‘
Open-Source Biology’ Stance Earns International Honour
http://www.cambia.org/downloads/Biotechnology_News_Dec_03.pdf (Mar. 12,2003); Anna Salleh,
Push to Free up Biotech Tools for All
(describing plans to assemble groups of enabling technologies thattogether provide the pieces necessary for a particular form of researchinvestigation),
http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s999733.htm(Dec. 1, 2003).
An Open-source Shot in the Arm?
June 10, 2004, at 17 (discussing open source in biotechnology),
note 1 (describing the HapMap