Policy ForumIntellectual Property

Racing for academic glory and patents: Lessons from CRISPR

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Science  17 Nov 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6365, pp. 874-876
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao2468

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  • The current patent law makes us happy?
    • Yasuhisa Yamashita, Patent Attorney, Shobayashi international patent & trademark office
    • Other Contributors:
      • Yoshiyasu Takefuji, Professor, Keio University

    Arti K. Rai et al. wrote an article entitled "Racing for academic glory and patents: lessons from CRISPR," published in Science (1). They describe two directions including academic glory and money (1). A patent is a right granted to the inventor and the right to exclude others from using a new technology (2). Patent law is designed to encourage inventors to disclose their new technology to the world by offering the incentive of a limited-time monopoly on the technology (2). The inventor is protected by the patent law where the term, "society's benefit" is not considered at all in the current law (2, 3). In the patent law, they assume that advancing the industry with the new technology makes us happy. Broader patents may sometimes disturb the progress of science (1). Not only the inventor's protection, but also global society's benefit should be considered in the future patent law. In other words, the current patent law should be updated by using the concept of "creative commons" instead of the exclusive right and patent monopoly. Or, patentleft is the practice of licensing patents (especially biological patents) for royalty-free use, on the condition that adopters license related improvements they develop under the same terms (4).

    1. Arti K. Rai et al., "Racing for academic glory and patents: Lessons from CRISPR," Science 17 Nov 2017: Vol. 358, Issue 6365, pp. 874-876

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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