A new study shows that 20 percent of human genes have been patented in the United States, primarily by private firms and universities (full story).
I don't know about you, but *this* has me worried. It's high time we revised our patent laws.
When The Economist, whom none can accuse of anti-capitalist bias, writes: It is becoming ever more apparent that the patent system isn't working (The cost of ideas) and carries articles with titles like Patently absurd? or Monopolies of the mind, it is high time for the governments to do something. So unless you want this patent nonsense (pun intended) to continue, take a minute and send an email to your representative or relevant government office (here are some links: United States Patent and Trademark Office, European Patent Office).
Let me finish with a part of one of my favourite poems (by Greg Egan):
It is not true that the map of freedom will be complete
with the erasure of the last invidious border when it remains for us to chart the attractors of thunder
and delineate the arrhythmias of drought to reveal the molecular dialects of forest and savanna
as rich as a thousand human tongues and to comprehend the deepest history of our passions
ancient beyond mythology's reach
So I declare that no corporation holds a monopoly on numbers
no patent can encompass zero and one
no nation has sovereignty over adenine and guanine
no empire rules the quantum waves
And there must be room for all at the celebration of
for there is a truth which cannot be bought or sold imposed by force, resisted or escaped
- Greg Egan, Distress
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