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RE: [ccp4bb]: License required for deposited structures!

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Hej Morten!

  Happy 1st April!

  By the way, if anybody should be interested, for a patent to be filed,
it has to be proved that it represents a "novel idea", i.e. something
that hasn't been done before. As soon as a method/idea has been made
public, for example by publication, it cannot be patented. The whole
idea of the patent system is to give the inventor exclusive rights to
make use of their invention for a limited period of time (usually 20
years), after which the information will be made public. That's the
bargain between the state and the inventor.

  Since x-ray crystallography has already been proven as a technique,
let's say, "a couple of times" in public, it would therefore not be
possible to file such a patent for the technique as such. They'd have to
come up with a new idea, for example "the use of crystallography for
collecting data from crystals smaller than 5um", if they can prove that
nobody had talked about that in public before. But now that I have
mentioned it here, they can't do that either :-)

  It might be April 1st, but patents can potentially constitute real
problems even for academics in the future! I really think people should
publicise any good ideas they come up with to the bulletin board, so we
can prevent companies from filing patents in the future...

Have fun!



Ditlev E. Brodersen, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral fellow

Medical Research Council          Phone:  +44 (0) 1223 252945
Laboratory of Molecular Biology   Mobile: +44 (0) 7866 563050
Hills Road                        Fax:    +44 (0) 1223 213556
Cambridge CB2 2QH                 Email:  ding@mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk
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