Intellectual Property and Emerging Technologies

Intellectual Property and Emerging Technologies

The New Biology

Queen Mary Studies in Intellectual Property series

Edited by Matthew Rimmer and Alison McLennan

This unique and comprehensive collection investigates the challenges posed to intellectual property by recent paradigm shifts in biology. It explores the legal ramifications of emerging technologies, such as genomics, synthetic biology, stem cell research, nanotechnology, and biodiscovery.

Introduction: Inventing Life: Intellectual Property and the New Biology

Alison McLennan and Matthew Rimmer

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, biotechnology, environmental economics, innovation and technology, technology and ict, law - academic, intellectual property law


Alison McLennan and Matthew Rimmer The Human Genome Project represented the first foray into ‘Big Science’ by the medical and the biological science communities.1 The initiative was promoted as ‘the moon shot of the life sciences’, the ‘holy grail of man’, ‘the code of codes’, and ‘the book of life’.2 On 14 March 2000, United States President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a joint announcement of the sequencing of the human genome.3 In February 2001, Nature and Science published rival papers reporting the sequence of the 3.2 billion base pair human genome. The Nature paper was by the publicly funded International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium,4 while the Science paper was by the private company Celera Genomics – led by J. Craig Venter.5 So what has changed in biological research since this milestone? In 2003, Francis Collins and his collaborators reflected that the success of the Human Genome Project has inspired a raft of new large-scale biology projects: ‘Large-scale genomic enterprises now extend well beyond straightforward sequencing, as witnessed by the recent launch from our own funding agencies of other large-scale biology initiatives involving functional genomics, structural biology, microbial genomics and proteomics, and haplotype 1 2 3 4 5 Galison, Peter and Bruce Hevly (eds) (1992), Big Science: The Growth of Large-Scale Research, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Cook-Deegan, R. (2001), ‘Hype And Hope’, American Scientist, 89, 62. Clinton, W. and T. Blair (2000), ‘Joint Statement by President William Clinton and Prime Minister Tony Blair of...