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Gene licensing stifles R&D

Privatizing research findings may slow innovation, study finds

Making scientific information proprietary may quash innovation, a survey of genes discovered during the last decade concludes. The analysis found that genes discovered by the biotechnology company Celera — and protected as intellectual property for up to two years — were less likely to be studied by researchers and the developers of drugs and diagnostic tests than were genes that remained in the public domain.

Protecting intellectual property, whether through patents or licensing agreements, encourages private companies to invest time, energy and money in research that might never otherwise get done, the thinking goes.

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