Here's something to chew over. What do people think about
patenting protein structures?
Some pros I've heard:
It'll give universities some clout in dealing with
drug companies, who might otherwise opt not to enter
into licensing agreements, waiting instead until
the PDB hold expires.
Chemists having been dealing with patents for a long
time, and it hasn't squelched their research.
Some cons I've heard:
It could potentially have a massively chilling effect
on structure/function research for any given protein
(remember the PCR/Taq polymerase fiascos).
Most academically determined structures have been
funded at least in part by public monies. Isn't
it wrong to patent something you figured out on
the taxpayer's nickel?
It can't be done, since a structure represents
a discovery, not an invention (directly relevant
to the whole NIH/Venter gene fragment business).
(Of course, legions of lawyers are engaged in
attempts to circumvent this argument as
exercises in self-justification).
What do YOU think?
Univ. of Chicago
loll at biovax.uchicago.edu