[open-science] Danes step away from patenting in favour of ?open science? | THE News

Matthew Todd matthew.todd at sydney.edu.au
Sat Aug 12 06:05:52 UTC 2017

This is interesting, Jenny. Good luck with these initiatives.

Two points:

1) I see patent pooling (which I believe is the Tesla strategy, as well as initiatives such as the Medicines Patent Pool) as distinct here. While important and potentially impactful, the pool implies the existence of patents in the first place, and the taking of a patent requires that all the research up to that point took place in secret. This is a different situation to what I'd see as open source, where there is a real-time and inclusive element to disclosures.

2) I'd agree with "what IP strategy in a particular context leads to the greatest positive impact of the science". The challenge is that a project needs to decide this in advance of its outcome. One cannot retrospectively patent,<https://intermolecular.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/retrospective-patents-as-an-incentive-to-open-research/> sadly. Meaning that if one is considering patenting (and subsequently an inventive use of licencing) then one must be secretive until one has achieved something significant. Again, this ruins the transparency and inclusiveness of what I think we would all see as the advantage of "open science", broadly speaking.

i.e. it's not the patent that's the main problem, but rather the secrecy involved in getting a patent in the first place.

An additional thing for everyone. Al Edwards and others published an interesting article<http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/9/392/eaai9055> recently on the use of Trusts for managing public resources. Jenny and I were both at the Sage Assembly this year where Sean McDonald<https://medium.com/@McDapper/the-civic-trust-e674f9aeab43> gave a great talk about this same idea. Essentially saying: "Open scientists always say that they want a robust way to manage scientific outputs as a community. Well, there exists a well-established legal way to do this already: a Trust."


Message: 2
Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2017 16:07:31 +0100
From: Jenny Molloy <jcmcoppice12 at gmail.com<mailto:jcmcoppice12 at gmail.com>>
To: Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk<mailto:pm286 at cam.ac.uk>>
Cc: open-science <open-science at lists.okfn.org<mailto:open-science at lists.okfn.org>>
Subject: Re: [open-science] Danes step away from patenting in favour
        of ?open science? | THE News
        <CABPM+wrktqznA1Jy3AQSD=LWWfF++8G89aLPX7AquWnq5MiKXw at mail.gmail.com<mailto:LWWfF%2B%2B8G89aLPX7AquWnq5MiKXw at mail.gmail.com>>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

I coordinate OpenPlant <https://www.openplant.org/> at the University of
Cambridge, we are releasing foundational tools for DNA manipulation and
assembly and collections of plant DNA parts free from patents and under an Open
Material Transfer Agreement <https://biobricks.org/openmta/> (because even
unpatented material can be restricted by contracts that are standard
practice in material transfers). This is a two tier strategy - releasing
the enabling technologies openly but not inhibiting patenting of inventions
built on those materials, which seems to be the case at Aarhus as well.

If anyone hit a paywall with Heather's link, here is an alternative:

As others have pointed out, the SGC, The Neuro at McGill, OSM and other
open source drug discovery initiatives are probably the best examples so
far. There are also experiments in open cell lines championed by New Harvest
<http://www.new-harvest.org/>, open source seeds <http://osseeds.org/>
(again, this is to get around not only patents but other IP like breeders
rights) and high profile company decisions like Tesla's patent pledge. Like
Luc said, depending on the context not patenting may sometimes be less
effective than patenting and openly or permissively licensing or creating a
managed commons like a standards consortium. Sometimes restrictive
licensing might be the only way to actually get something tangible into the
real world, it's a whole different ball game to software and digital
resources because of material costs of production and a whole range of
other economic/political/social reasons. The real question for me is what
IP strategy in a particular context leads to the greatest positive impact
of the science, all things considered.

I don't have time to write a very long response, but I've been thinking
about this a lot because I'm in the middle of convening a Faculty Research
Group here in Cambridge at the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences
and Humanities on 'Open IP models for emerging technologies and
implications for an equitable society'. We'll be looking at this in the
context mostly of synthetic biology AI, green technologies like electric
vehicles, additive manufacturing and maybe a couple more technologies. Some
related reading below for those who are interested in the topic (one book
is not freely accessible, but if you google the chapters you'll find
several of them in repositories) and I'll post our programme and
bibliography here when it's finalised.


Hope, Janet. Biobazaar: the open source revolution and biotechnology
Harvard University Press. 2009.
Ziegler, N., Gassmann, O., & Friesike, S. (2014). Why do firms give away
their patents for free?
World Patent Information, 37, 19-25. doi:10.1016/j.wpi.2013.12.002
Patent Pools, Clearinghouses, Open Source Models and Liability Regimes
Cambridge University Press, 2009.
van Zwanenberg, Patrick, Mariano Fressoli, Valeria Arza, Adrian Smith, and
Anabel Marin. "Open and Collaborative Developments
<https://opendocs.ids.ac.uk/opendocs/handle/123456789/13128>." (2017).

MATTHEW TODD | Associate Professor
School of Chemistry | Faculty of Science

Rm 517, F11 | The University of Sydney | NSW | 2006
T +61 2 9351 2180  | F +61 2 9351 3329  | M +61 415 274104
E matthew.todd at sydney.edu.au<mailto:matthew.todd at sydney.edu.au> | W http://sydney.edu.au/science/people/matthew.todd.php
W http://opensourcemalaria.org/ | W http://opensourcepharma.net/

This email plus any attachments to it are confidential. Any unauthorised use is strictly prohibited. If you receive this email in error, please delete it and any attachments.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.okfn.org/pipermail/open-science/attachments/20170812/e0d24efe/attachment-0003.html>

More information about the open-science mailing list