Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Keeping Nature in the Public Domain

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prevents patents on naturally occurring DNA sequences is important because it keeps nature in the public domain. The ruling extends far beyond macromolecules to say that merely being the first person to notice, measure, or record something does not make you the inventor of it. As important as it is to pay attention to the world and the way it works, patent laws were intended to give people an incentive to create something new. Current patent law still often allows people to file patents before they have done the work of inventing something, and when it does that, it takes much of that incentive away.