The Patent Doc blog this morning comments on a good editorial in the Financial Times on Gene Patenting - written by Duke Law Professor, James Boyle, author of The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind.
Professor Boyle writes that we are moving to a new understanding on the issue - - one where competing groups give up property right in a "pre-competitive commons" - a pool of information from which all can draw.
He conceeds the process is complex. "How does one guarantee that all can benefit? At what point do we stop sharing and allow privatization and property rights?" Acknowledging that these properties are also necessary features of a working solution.
But he notes, we also now have tools that help better understand the complexities of commons construction -- Elinor Ostrom won 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics for this type of analysis. He concludes that we should view this not as an ideological war but as a pragmatic process of design.
It's an argument for restraint, for formation of shared data pools, and public-private ownership and cooperation. Yet still recognizes that companies will profit from products developed as a result of these efforts.
Posted by Bruce Lehr August 31st 2010.