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March 31st, 2008 by Edward Miller

The massive amount of meat production is currently wreaking havoc on the environment, and too often the animals are treated inhumanely.

Yet, it is simply not practical that we will all become vegans any time soon. Certain animal products are very nutritious, and humans crave it too much. The only sustainable and ethical way to fill that desire is in-vitro meat and similar technologies.

Unfortunately, innovation in the field has been slow. Furthermore, what little innovation there has been is currently patented. Patents often stifle innovation and provide unnecessary government-guaranteed monopolies for certain individuals.

Interestingly, the great Arthur C Clarke, who recently passed away, had once written about the possibility for geostationary satellites to be used as telecommunications devices. His work was declared as prior art to successfully defeat a patent regarding telecomm satellites.

I remember reading his book 3001: The Final Odyssey and it spoke of meat substitutes, and predates some of the patents by a few years. However, I am sure there are other works that are much older that could invalidate some of the patents. It is a fairly obvious idea, and there is absolutely no reason why patents should hinder innovation in this area.

Thoughts?

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5 Responses to “Open Source In Vitro Meat”

  1. I understand your argument, but patents are usually highly detailed multi-paged documents. Even if an author mentioned something similar in a book published before the patent, the law falls on the side of the person who filed the patent first. I also would like to know what would substitute as a reward for inventors taking risks? I would also like to note that patents usually expire once inventions become common knowledge. For example the person who invented the hammer is no longer receiving royalities from hammer-makers. Wouldn’t you agree that if someone invents something, then that something is the property of the inventor?

  2. Speaking of Monsanto have you seen the lab outside of Monmouth?

  3. Ok, I guess the question here is what drives innovation more? Competition or Collaboration?

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