The Party of Open: Open Government, Open Culture, Open Innovation & People First

Monthly archive: August 2011

In-person organizational meeting on Sunday, 8/21, 4pm

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We will be holding an in-person meeting this Sunday starting at 4pm.  It will be at 25 Moore St., Somerville and is near the Davis Square T stop. You can also park on the street without a permit. The current agenda items are: Planning for September and October events: Freedom Not Fear, Freedom Rally, International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a possible fundraiser, 2012 campaign trainings Distributing the Intellectual Pooperty mini-books Discussing what a Pirate Economic Policy would look like and a campaign we may want to join If you have any further suggestions for agenda topics, please post them here are email us at We will not have an IRC meeting on Monday, August 22nd.

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Who owns you?

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Lots of companies if the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s recent decision is upheld by the Supreme Court. On July 29th, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned a March 2010 ruling by United States District Judge Robert W. Sweet in Manhattan that genes could not be patented (h/t MassPirate member Lucia Fiero). The Court’s 2 to 1 ruling would allow companies and individuals to find specific gene sequences and patent them, forcing others to pay for the privilege of creating tests or treatments on those genes for up to 20 years. Judge William C. Bryson, who wrote the dissenting opinion, warned that “if sustained the court’s decision will likely have broad consequences, such as preempting methods for whole-genome sequencing.” While our position is that patents should be abolished, we believe patents should only be used for tangible inventions and should not be applied to things found in nature or for life itself. The continued decline in the cost of gene sequencing will allow many more people to research the genetic causes of diseases and look for solutions. However, the threat of lawsuits for infringing on another’s gene patent will hinder this needed innovation in the biotech field. Many will simply avoid areas of the human genome where patented genes exist. As This American Life has amply reported, we have already seen this problem with computer software patents. The ability of gene patents to stifle innovation in the biotech field extends beyond making it difficult for scientists to research areas of a genome where there are genes that are patented. Since so much of science and innovation are based on sharing ideas, we fully expect that gene patents will hinder such sharing just as other patents have done. Ultimately, this ruling will reduce … Read more

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