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The Evaluation of Research Tools Inventions Patentability in Nanobiotechnology

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Nanobiotechnology has become one of the key technologies of the 21st century. The rapid evolution of nanobiotechnological research has raised expectations of finding ever better treatment to an increased number of illnesses. Due to the complexity of nanobiotechnological research, researchers—scientists working in academia and in commercial enterprises alike—need access to numerous resources for their projects. In the domain of nanobiotechnology, a single basic patent often enables the patentee to exclusively manufacture more than one product or use more than one method. Access to research tools is a prerequisite to continuing scientific advancement in nanobiotechnology. There is an ongoing debate about the ways in which patents impact on nanobiotechnology. Patents can have severe detrimental effects on innovation and indirectly on public health. DNA patents as a form of research tool patents are of particular concern. In particular, most patents for research tools are applicable to various purposes and are helpful in promoting research. However, at the same time, they are often less substitutable. If research tool patents are not easily available for research, the R&D process becomes stalled. That is because of two main reasons. First, if individual patents are licensed on a restrictive basis, access to fundamental technology could be blocked and hence, hinder downstream research and development. Genes are discovered to be fundamental to life. Thus genes have become the basis for exploring diseases and therefore, to develop new pharmaceuticals. Consequently patents on genes started to endanger innovation and impede research. Secondly, if it is required to negotiate licenses over multiple patents, the pace of innovation could be delayed and creating what is known as an anticommons. Therefore, facilitating the use of research tool patents is an important challenge in the promotion of R&D activities in the life sciences and the creation of innovation from achievements in such activities especially in nanobiotechnology. Responding to these concerns, proposals have been made to facilitate access to the necessary inputs. Universities, etc. and private businesses are expected to endeavor to establish practical operations in line with the recommendations and avoid disputes involving research tool patents, thereby facilitating the mutual use of research tool patents in research.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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  • Bionanoscience attempts to harness various functions of biological macromolecules and integrate them with engineering for technological applications. It is based on a bottom-up approach and encompasses structural biology, biomacromolecular engineering, material science, and engineering, extending the horizon of material science. The journal aims at publication of (i) Letters (ii) Reviews (3) Concepts (4) Rapid communications (5) Research papers (6) Book reviews (7) Conference announcements in the interface between chemistry, physics, biology, material science, and technology. The use of biological macromolecules as sensors, biomaterials, information storage devices, biomolecular arrays, molecular machines is significantly increasing. The traditional disciplines of chemistry, physics, and biology are overlapping and coalescing with nanoscale science and technology. Currently research in this area is scattered in different journals and this journal seeks to bring them under a single umbrella to ensure highest quality peer-reviewed research for rapid dissemination in areas that are in the forefront of science and technology which is witnessing phenomenal and accelerated growth.
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