Trends in Biotechnology vol:24 issue:3 pages:115-120
There is increasing concern that overlapping patents in the field of genetics will create a costly and legally complex situation known as a patent thicket, which, along with the associated issues of accumulating royalty payments, can act as a disincentive for innovation. One potential means of preventing this is for the patent holders to enter into a so-called patent pool, such as those established in the electronics and telecommunications industries. Precedents for these also exist in the field of genetics, notably with the patents pertaining to the SARS genome. In this review, we initially address the patent pool concept in general and its application in genetics. Following this, we will explore patent pools in the diagnostic field in more detail, and examine some existing and novel examples of patent pools in genetics.