Beyond blue gene: Intellectual property and bioinformatics

Rimmer, Matthew (2003) Beyond blue gene: Intellectual property and bioinformatics. International Review of Industrial Property and Copyright Law, 34(1), pp. 31-49.

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This article considers the challenges posed to intellectual property law by the emerging field of bioinformatics. It examines the intellectual property strategies of established biotechnology companies, such as Celera Genomics, and information technology firms entering into the marketplace, such as IBM. First this paper argues that copyright law is not irrelevant to biotechnology, as some commentators would suggest. It claims that the use of copyright law and contract law is fundamental to the protection of biomedical and genomic databases. Second this article questions whether biotechnology companies are exclusively interested in patenting genes and genetics sequences. Recent evidence suggests that biotechnology companies and IT firms are patenting bioinformatics software and Internet business methods, as well as underlying instrumentation such as microarrays and genechips. Finally, this paper evaluates what impact the privatisation of bioinformatics will have on public research and scientific communication. It raises important questions about integration, interoperability, and the risks of monopoly. It finally considers whether open source software such as the Ensembl Project and peer to peer technology like DSAS will be able to counter this trend of privatisation.

Impact and interest:

8 citations in Scopus
1 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 85361
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: No
Keywords: bioinformatics, contract law, Copyright law, free and open source software, gene chips, Intellectual property, microarrays, patent law, peer to peer technology, Intellectual Property and Innovation Law Research Group
ISSN: 0018-9855
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: © 2015 Max Planck Institute
Deposited On: 30 Jul 2015 07:02
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2015 01:54

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