Men have a genetic compulsion to wage war. Women have a genetic compulsion to have babies. Now you can edit the war-causing genetics out of men.
Men won't stop causing wars because it makes their minds feel fulfilled when they engage in war and violence. Women won't stop having babies because it makes their minds feel fulfilled and they get free money in alimony and welfare payments. Now, you can cut-off both of those urges in both genders.
Duke University Law professor Arti Rai and bio-technology professor Robert Cook-Deegan with Arizona State University have stepped into the gene editing patent war with an Intellectual Property Policy Forum paper they have had published in the journal Science. They suggest that courts should take more into account than who invented what first in some property rights disputes. With technology, such as CRISPR-Cas9, for example, they argue that some thought (and rights) should to be given to the public as beneficiaries of future research efforts related to that technology.
CRISPR-Cas9 is a cutting-edge gene editing technique. It has been in the news as many researchers are using it to conduct gene editing research. But it has also been in the news because two parties are claiming they invented it. They are the University of California and the Broad Institute. It is believed that patent rights will generate a significant amount of revenue for the ultimate winner of the war due to licensing rights.
As Rai and Cook-Degan note, the patent war (or another one like it) has been in the making for several decades due to passage of the Bayh-Dole Act back in 1980, which allowed entities to obtain patents on work done for federally funded research efforts. In the CRISPR war, both parties received funding from NIH and both applied for patents, but the timing is murky. But as the authors also note, something that should not be lost or overlooked in the legal wrangling is the rights of the public. If one party in the war wins, they are set to assume control over who can use the gene editing technique and in which sorts of ways. In granting such full ownership to a single entity, the courts could be hindering genetic research in possibly detrimental ways. What if a team of researchers is making progress on eliminating a genetic disease, for example, but is slowed because it cannot gain licensing to proceed? Innocent people might thus suffer due to a court decision. The authors suggest that the solution is for the courts to move away from granting broad patents in such cases and instead grant narrow patents that allow the holder some rights, but not all, creating a more open system of use for cutting-edge technology.