Patent goon squad
The general idea would be for scientists (who might be so inclined) to actively keep an eye on new patent applications in their fields of interest in order to push back on overly-broad patents. I think there would be an interest in this sort of thing for synthetic biology at a minimum, but the feasibility is an open question :)
Contentious Patent Applications
It might be an idea to post important patents and allow people to add prior art that they might know about.
Does anybody have suggestions for categories for synthetic biology patents? The patents that are posted now seem to fit into 'devices' and 'assembly'. If we could organize the patents into particular technology categories, we could then create an internal hierarchy of patents based on the breadth of the claims.
Parts library and assembly
Molecular Computing Elements, Gates and Flip-Flops
Genetic circuit inverting amplifier
Prior Art (pre June 5,2003)
Weiss & Knight 1999 - see fig 1, a biological inverter based on gene expression.
Please add/edit -- or answer!
- How hard is it to filter patents via existing search tools (e.g. into sub-fields)?
- What is the number of 'biology' patent applications submitted each day?
- Can you get access to the applications early enough in the process to effect the outcome?
- Is it better to go after existing patents (life the EFF patent busting project) or patent applications?
- Response from EFF lawyer:
It's very hard to attack patent applications because there is no formal opposition process and they often change during the prosecution process so as to be a bit of a moving target. Also, we've chosen to go after patents that are actively being used to attack; when they are at the application stage, it is harder to predict which ones will be the worst and worth going after. Good luck in your effects, though.
- The US patent office sounds like it might be interested in this sort of community input (Washington Post).
- EFF Patent Busting Project - interesting parallel in the internet patent arena. EFF is digging up prior art on existing patents and then pursuing legal action for re-examination.
- Hanna Breetz, Technology and Policy Program at MIT
- Jason Kelly, BE at MIT