News of the WeekScience and Commerce

Systematics Researchers Want to Fend Off Patents

Science  07 Aug 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5941, pp. 664
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_664

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Summary

A 2-year-old patent application by Microsoft has claimed the invention of techniques that evolutionary biologists have been using for years to discern how organisms were related to one another through evolutionary time, based on similarities in genetic sequence. As word about it spreads, the phylogenetics community is increasingly worried. They think the patent is unlikely to pass muster at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office because it seems obvious. However, should the application be approved, some researchers may find that they are doing work that infringes it.

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