The Great American Science Heist

“Rickover railed against the proposed policy changes. “Government contractors should not be given title to inventions developed at government expense,” he said. “These inventions are paid for by the public and therefore should be available for any citizen to use or not as he sees fit.”

This seemed self-evident to Rickover. After all, he noted, “companies generally claim title to the inventions of their employees on the basis that the company pays their wages.” It befuddled and angered him that the U.S. government would consider giving up its own shop rights to industries that would never do the same. …

In the summer of 1979, the latest such bill was entering its sixth month of hearings on the merits of pulling the Kennedy policy inside-out. Sponsored by Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., and Sen. Birch Bayh, D-Ind., it would shift the burden onto government to prove that its ownership of a patent better served the public than a private monopoly, rather than the other way around. The bill was considered a long shot to get past the dens of liberal lions in the Senate and President Jimmy Carter, but it was gaining traction among Democrats.

As the bill’s chances of passage grew, Rickover stepped up his warnings to lawmakers not to fall for “the age-old arguments of the patent lobby” and pass legislation that “promotes greater concentration of economic power [and] impedes the development and dissemination of technology.” …”

WUR gives away CRISPR intellectual property licenses for free in fight against hunger – Reader Mode

“The ultimate aim of plant breeding has always been to make plants resistant to drought and diseases. That could help eliminate hunger around the world. This is no longer a distant thought, thanks to a technology called CRISPR-Cas. Today Wageningen University & Research (WUR) announces it will provide potential partners with free licenses to work on its patented CRISPR technology. The license must be applied to gene-editing of plants for non-profit applications….”

WUR gives away CRISPR intellectual property licenses for free in fight against hunger – Reader Mode

“The ultimate aim of plant breeding has always been to make plants resistant to drought and diseases. That could help eliminate hunger around the world. This is no longer a distant thought, thanks to a technology called CRISPR-Cas. Today Wageningen University & Research (WUR) announces it will provide potential partners with free licenses to work on its patented CRISPR technology. The license must be applied to gene-editing of plants for non-profit applications….”

Intellectual Property in Open Projects

“While open source software is open by definition, this term applies only to the code of the project. The intellectual property (IP) of an open source project also includes other work produced to support the project, including the project’s name, logo, domain name, and website, which may be trademarked or copyrighted separate from the open source code. Project leads need to consider IP ownership of the open source code and other assets to avoid the worst case scenarios of infringement and inappropriate reuse. In 2020 we worked with Rhizome and Conifer, which is built on the open source project Webrecorder and we worked with these teams on an IP audit to help set up all parties for successful IP management.  This work was supported by a grant to Rhizome from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Here, informed by that work, we outline some simple steps that any open project can take to audit their IP to identify and remedy areas of unnecessary risk….”

Global public health security and justice for vaccines and therapeutics in the COVID-19 pandemic – EClinicalMedicine

Abstract:  A Lancet Commission for COVID-19 task force is shaping recommendations to achieve vaccine and therapeutics access, justice, and equity. This includes ensuring safety and effectiveness harmonized through robust systems of global pharmacovigilance and surveillance. Global production requires expanding support for development, manufacture, testing, and distribution of vaccines and therapeutics to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Global intellectual property rules must not stand in the way of research, production, technology transfer, or equitable access to essential health tools, and in context of pandemics to achieve increased manufacturing without discouraging innovation. Global governance around product quality requires channelling widely distributed vaccines through WHO prequalification (PQ)/emergency use listing (EUL) mechanisms and greater use of national regulatory authorities. A World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution would facilitate improvements and consistency in quality control and assurances. Global health systems require implementing steps to strengthen national systems for controlling COVID-19 and for influenza vaccinations for adults including pregnant and lactating women. A collaborative research network should strive to establish open access databases for bioinformatic analyses, together with programs directed at human capacity utilization and strengthening. Combating anti-science recognizes the urgency for countermeasures to address a global-wide disinformation movement dominating the internet and infiltrating parliaments and local governments.

 

Intellectual Property Rights VS Open Access Initiatives – KS Legal and Associates

“The conflict between open access and traditional IP rights is becoming a significant problem. The essence of IPR and open access is that they are opposed to one another, to the point that approving one is destructive to the other. Let’s break down and find a balance between them….

The basics of open access, as can be shown, contravene one of the most fundamental concepts of intellectual property rights, which is to safeguard intellectual property….”

Intellectual Property Rights VS Open Access Initiatives – KS Legal and Associates

“The conflict between open access and traditional IP rights is becoming a significant problem. The essence of IPR and open access is that they are opposed to one another, to the point that approving one is destructive to the other. Let’s break down and find a balance between them….

The basics of open access, as can be shown, contravene one of the most fundamental concepts of intellectual property rights, which is to safeguard intellectual property….”

Open Access Policy | NHMRC

“NHMRC supports the sharing of outputs from NHMRC funded research including publications and data. The aims of the NHMRC Open Access Policy are to mandate the open access sharing of publications and encourage innovative open access to research data. This policy also requires that patents resulting from NHMRC funding be made findable through listing in SourceIP….

NHMRC is seeking input from relevant stakeholders about proposed revisions to the Open Access Policy and Further Guidance. The proposed revisions are limited to sections of the documents about publications….”

Promoting versatile vaccine development for emerging pandemics | npj Vaccines

“In this case, the generated knowledge is a clear example of a positive spillover that creates a need for public intervention into the market for research and development. However, this relies on the results of translatable work on prototype pathogens—such as insights into antigen optimisation—being accessible to public use. Therefore, public funding of prototype pathogen work should seek to promote research that generates openly accessible and translatable insights as far as practicable, while also judiciously taking advantage of generating proprietary intellectual property. Even in the cases where a proprietary insight might primarily benefit the originating organisation, such as early preclinical evidence and safety data from clinical trials, the research remains worthy of subsidy because society benefits from having developers that are better prepared to respond to emerging infectious diseases….”

Bill Gates, Vaccine Monster | The New Republic

“Battle-scarred veterans of the medicines-access and open-science movements hoped the immensity of the pandemic would override a global drug system based on proprietary science and market monopolies. By March, strange but welcome melodies could be heard from unexpected quarters. Anxious governments spoke of shared interests and global public goods; drug companies pledged “precompetitive” and “no-profit” approaches to development and pricing. The early days featured tantalizing glimpses of an open-science, cooperative pandemic response. In January and February 2020, a consortium led by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases collaborated to produce atomic-level maps of the key viral proteins in record time. “Work that would normally have taken months—or possibly even years—has been completed in weeks,” noted the editors of Nature. …

By then, however, the optimism and sense of possibility that defined the early days were long gone. Advocates for pooling and open science, who seemed ascendant and even unstoppable that winter, confronted the possibility they’d been outmatched and outmaneuvered by the most powerful man in global public health.

In April, Bill Gates launched a bold bid to manage the world’s scientific response to the pandemic. Gates’s Covid-19 ACT-Accelerator expressed a status quo vision for organizing the research, development, manufacture, and distribution of treatments and vaccines. Like other Gates-funded institutions in the public health arena, the Accelerator was a public-private partnership based on charity and industry enticements. Crucially, and in contrast to the C-TAP, the Accelerator enshrined Gates’s long-standing commitment to respecting exclusive intellectual property claims. Its implicit arguments—that intellectual property rights won’t present problems for meeting global demand or ensuring equitable access, and that they must be protected, even during a pandemic—carried the enormous weight of Gates’s reputation as a wise, beneficent, and prophetic leader. …

“Early on, there was space for Gates to have a major impact in favor of open models,” says Manuel Martin, a policy adviser to the Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign. “But senior people in the Gates organization very clearly sent out the message: Pooling was unnecessary and counterproductive. They dampened early enthusiasm by saying that I.P. is not an access barrier in vaccines. That’s just demonstratively false.”…

“Things could have gone either way,” says Love, “but Gates wanted exclusive rights maintained. He acted fast to stop the push for sharing the knowledge needed to make the products—the know-how, the data, the cell lines, the tech transfer, the transparency that is critically important in a dozen ways. The pooling approach represented by C-TAP included all of that. Instead of backing those early discussions, he raced ahead and signaled support for business-as-usual on intellectual property by announcing the ACT-Accelerator in March.” …”

 

Bill Gates, Vaccine Monster | The New Republic

“Battle-scarred veterans of the medicines-access and open-science movements hoped the immensity of the pandemic would override a global drug system based on proprietary science and market monopolies. By March, strange but welcome melodies could be heard from unexpected quarters. Anxious governments spoke of shared interests and global public goods; drug companies pledged “precompetitive” and “no-profit” approaches to development and pricing. The early days featured tantalizing glimpses of an open-science, cooperative pandemic response. In January and February 2020, a consortium led by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases collaborated to produce atomic-level maps of the key viral proteins in record time. “Work that would normally have taken months—or possibly even years—has been completed in weeks,” noted the editors of Nature. …

By then, however, the optimism and sense of possibility that defined the early days were long gone. Advocates for pooling and open science, who seemed ascendant and even unstoppable that winter, confronted the possibility they’d been outmatched and outmaneuvered by the most powerful man in global public health.

In April, Bill Gates launched a bold bid to manage the world’s scientific response to the pandemic. Gates’s Covid-19 ACT-Accelerator expressed a status quo vision for organizing the research, development, manufacture, and distribution of treatments and vaccines. Like other Gates-funded institutions in the public health arena, the Accelerator was a public-private partnership based on charity and industry enticements. Crucially, and in contrast to the C-TAP, the Accelerator enshrined Gates’s long-standing commitment to respecting exclusive intellectual property claims. Its implicit arguments—that intellectual property rights won’t present problems for meeting global demand or ensuring equitable access, and that they must be protected, even during a pandemic—carried the enormous weight of Gates’s reputation as a wise, beneficent, and prophetic leader. …

“Early on, there was space for Gates to have a major impact in favor of open models,” says Manuel Martin, a policy adviser to the Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign. “But senior people in the Gates organization very clearly sent out the message: Pooling was unnecessary and counterproductive. They dampened early enthusiasm by saying that I.P. is not an access barrier in vaccines. That’s just demonstratively false.”…

“Things could have gone either way,” says Love, “but Gates wanted exclusive rights maintained. He acted fast to stop the push for sharing the knowledge needed to make the products—the know-how, the data, the cell lines, the tech transfer, the transparency that is critically important in a dozen ways. The pooling approach represented by C-TAP included all of that. Instead of backing those early discussions, he raced ahead and signaled support for business-as-usual on intellectual property by announcing the ACT-Accelerator in March.” …”

 

UCLA researchers digitize massive collection of folk medicine | UCLA

“A project more than 40 years in the making, the Archive of Healing is one of the largest databases of medicinal folklore from around the world. UCLA Professor David Shorter has launched an interactive, searchable website featuring hundreds of thousands of entries that span more than 200 years, and draws from seven continents, six university archives, 3,200 published sources, and both first and second-hand information from folkloric field notes.

The entries address a broad range of health-related topics including everything from midwifery and menopause to common colds and flus. The site aims to preserve Indigenous knowledge about healing practices, while preventing that data from being exploited for profit….”

Intellectual Property Rights and Access in Crisis | SpringerLink

Abstract:  The importance of access to intellectual property rights (IPR) protected subject-matter in two crucial areas – public health, and educational and cultural engagement – has been extensively demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although they involve separate legal areas, patent and copyright, the common thread linking the two is intellectual property’s difficult relationship with access in the public interest. This paper examines the tensions caused by access barriers, the tools used to reduce them and their effectiveness. It is clear that the access barriers magnified by COVID-19 are not restricted to narrow or specific contexts but are widespread. They are created by, and are a feature of, our existing IPR frameworks. Open movements provide limited remedies because they are not designed to, nor can adequately address the wide range of access barriers necessary to promote the public interest. Existing legislative mechanisms designed to remove access barriers similarly fail to effectively remedy access needs. These existing options are premised on the assumption that there is a singular “public” motivated by homogenous “interests”, which fails to reflect the plurality and cross-border reality of the public(s) interest(s) underpinning the welfare goals of IPR. We conclude that a systemic re-evaluation is required and call for positive and equitable legal measures protective of the public(s) interest(s) to be built within IPR frameworks that also address non-IPR barriers. The current pandemic and development of a “new normal” provides a crucial opportunity to comprehensively consider the public(s) interest(s), not just during a global health crisis, but on an ongoing basis.

 

To Prevent the Resurgence of the Pandemic, Can We Talk About Open-Source Research? – Center for Economic and Policy Research

“But suppose Pfizer, Moderna, and the rest insist they are not selling, or at least not at a reasonable price. Then we go route two. We offer big bucks directly to the people who have this knowledge. Suppose we offer $5-$10 million to key engineers for a couple of months to work with engineers around the world. Yeah, Pfizer and Moderna can sue them. We’ll pick up the tab for their legal fees and any money they could lose in settlements. The sums involved are trivial relative to lives that could be saved and the damage prevented by more rapid diffusion of the vaccines.

If these companies actually pursued lawsuits it would also be a great teaching opportunity. It would show the world how single-mindedly these companies pursue profits and how incredibly corrupting the current system of patent monopoly financing is.

Okay, but let’s say we can overcome the obstacles and get the knowledge from these companies freely dispensed around the world. We still have the claim that there are physical limits to how rapidly vaccines can be produced.

There are two points here. First, while there clearly are limits, we can still move more quickly in the relevant time frame. No one had vaccines in March of 2019, but the leading producers had the capacity to produce tens of millions of doses a month by November, a period of less than eight months….”

The Monopoly of Journal Subscriptions and the Commodification of Research – The Wire Science

“So the final question is whether the government of India should try to address the basic problem of proprietorship of knowledge, and its subsequent commercialisation, by negotiating for a better deal from journal proprietors for access at less exorbitant fees; or should it examine how to change the law to give proprietary ownership to the creators of the knowledge?

The earlier bulk subscriptions negotiated by Uruguay and Egypt, cost them about Rs 48 per capita, while India currently spends about Rs 12 per capita. For India to arrive at an agreement at the same rate as Uruguay and Egypt would mean an expenditure of roughly Rs 6,500 crore (or $890mn). As it is, in India, public funding for research is scarce and becoming scarcer by the day through market-friendly policies. Changing the law, on the other hand, would either mean modifying existing legal provisions or at least passing legislation with respect to publicly funded research and its products within India as well as free access to such research globally….

Meanwhile, we must be quite clear that Sci-Hub and Library Genesis are providing an enormously useful service to scholars all over the world. It will be a long time before any official agency in India will be able to provide a comparable service. The best we can hope for is that the court cases against them languish for as long as possible as they do for much less laudable causes.”