The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) in the United Kingdom has already issued a response to the Professor Sulston's rant over the patentability (or otherwise) of Craig Venter's Synthia synthetic life form.
"Sir John Sulston slams Craig Venter’s ‘excessively broad’ patent applications at Royal Society event
Sir John Sulston, who won a Nobel Prize for his research into genetics, slammed Dr Craig Venter’s application to patent the ‘first synthetic life form’ as part of his wide-ranging critique of the patent system in a discussion at the Royal Society on 24 May.
The event ... brought together four authoritative figures from the worlds of science and intellectual property to discuss the question ‘Who owns science?’ ...
Professor Sulston drew on material used in the Manchester Manifesto, published in 2009, to call for the patent system to be reformed and for governments and society to find alternative models for rewarding scientific research. He also specifically criticised Dr Craig Venter for applying for patents on the artificially created organism, nicknamed Synthia. "I hope very much these patents won't be accepted because they would bring genetic engineering under the control of the J Craig Venter Institute (JCVI),” he said. “They would have a monopoly on a whole range of techniques."Says the IPKat, it's good to see a swift and reassuring response from CIPA -- but this is just the start. It is hoped that other responsible pro-patent organisations will pick up the issue and add their support to CIPA and not just hide behind that body's apron-strings. Says Merpel, the UK Intellectual Property Office's Current News page has nothing more recent than July 2009. A comment on this issue would be a great way of kick-starting this service
Patent attorney Dr Gordon Wright ... commented on Dr Venter’s application to patent ‘synthetic life’. “Craig Venter’s patent applications are at an early stage of examination,” Gordon Wright said. “They have a long way to go before any patents will be granted. Examination by US examiners has already indicated that the claimed inventions are too broadly defined. In Europe, the breadth of both applications has already been limited by the European Patent Office. Both the US and EPO examination processes can be easily monitored by the public. Anyone can make comments to the EPO on the patentability of the applications, which have to be passed on to the applicant. There is every likelihood that the applications will be significantly restricted in scope before grant".