I keep expecting someone to try patenting/copyrighting/trademarking a nanoparticle or some such nanoscale object. If you believe that to be unthinkable, I suggest you read this (from TechDirt’s Mike Masnick’s news item here),
We’ve seen a few ridiculous cases whereby local governments claim copyright on a law [emphasis mine], but it’s still stunning to see what’s going on in Liberia. Tom sends in the news that no one knows what the law covers in Liberia, because one man, leading a small group of lawyers, claims to hold the copyright on the laws of the country and won’t share them unless people (or, rather, the government of Liberia) is willing to pay. Oh, and did we mention that the US government paid for some of this?
Masnick’s article provides a link to more information in the story, He’s got the law (literally) in his hands, by Jina Moore and Glenna Gordon. While I find the situation extreme what strikes me first in Masnick’s piece is that it’s not unusual. So if people are actually going to try and copyright a law, why not a nanoparticle?
Coincidentally, China and India have made a proposal to eschew intellectual property rights with regard to green/clean technologies prior to the big climate talks during December (2009) in Copenhagen. From the news item on Nanowerk,
As world leaders prepare for climate talks in Copenhagen next month, developing nations have tabled a controversial proposal which would effectively end patent protection for clean technologies. China and India have floated the idea of making new green technology subject to ‘compulsory licensing’, which critics say amounts to waiving intellectual property rights. The idea of adapting or liberalising patent rules for crucial new inventions which can help reduce carbon emissions is not new, but the EU and US are unhappy with compulsory licensing, fearing it would dramatically reduce the incentive for businesses to innovate and stifle green job creation. Compulsory licensing has to date only been used in emergency situations where patent-protected pharmaceuticals were seen as prohibitively expensive. The Thai government used the mechanism to allow local medicines factories [to] produce HIV drugs at a fraction of the cost.
I’m guessing the reason that this item was posted on Nanowerk is that nanotechnology is often featured as an enabler of cleaner/greener products.
On a related theme, Andrew Maynard has posted his thoughts on the World Economic Forum that he attended last week in Dubai (from his Nov.22.09 posting),
Developing appropriate technology-based solutions to global challenges is only possible if technology innovation policy is integrated into the decision-making process at the highest levels in government, industry and other relevant organizations. Without such high-level oversight, there is a tendency to use the technology that’s available, rather than to develop the technology that’s needed. And as the challenges of living in an over-populated and under-resourced world [emphasis mine] escalate, this will only exacerbate the disconnect between critical challenges and technology-based solutions.
The importance of technology innovation – and emerging technologies in particular – was highlighted by Lord Malloch-Brown in his closing remarks at this year’s Summit on the Global Agenda. Yet there is still a way to go before technology innovation is integrated into the global agenda dialogue, rather than being tacked on to it
Maynard provides an intriguing insight into some of the international agenda which includes a much broader range of discussion topics that I would have expected from something called an ‘economic’ forum. You can read more about the World Economic Forum organization and its latest meeting here.
I wasn’t expecting to find out more about London Olympics 2012”s digital cloud proposed project on Andy Miah’s website as I tend to associate him with human enhancement, Olympic sports, post humanism, and nanotechnology topics. I keep forgetting about his media interests. Here’s his latest (Nov.22.09) posting on the Digital Olympics (title of his new book) where he includes images and a video about the architectural project.