patents

The Privatization of Yoga

It is a sign of the predatory nature of markets today that a tradition that goes back 4,500 years now needs to affirmatively defend itself as a common legacy of humankind. Yes, the latest endangered resource is -- yoga.

Yoga was developed in India as a physical and spiritual practice for everyone. The breathing known as pranayama is perhaps the most elemental aspect of human existence. But wouldn't you know it -- all sorts of scheming entrepreneurs now want to convert yoga into "intellectual property."

Should Genes be Patentable?

In a ruling that shocked most patent lawyers, a federal court has ruled that human genes may not be patented. The case involved seven patents on genes are thought to be related to breast and ovarian cancer. The plaintiffs — women who have cancer along with genetic researchers and medical associations — argued that the patents are not legal for DNA, which is something that occurs naturally and is not invented, The plaintiffs also objected to how the patents inhibited their access to tests for breast cancer, because the patent precludes the development of competitive tests.

Global Innovation Commons

As the world attention converges on Copenhagen climate summit, a little-mentioned issue is the proper role of patents in encouraging the development of emissions-free energy technologies. Large tech companies like to claim that they need broad patents to encourage their investment in innovative new technologies. And they are poised to make a fortune off of selling patent licenses for new "green technologies" designed to abate carbon emissions.

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