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BTW there is a patent pool being formed by MPEG LA to license CRISPR. It seems to be similar to patent pools for video codecs.

* http://www.mpegla.com/main/pid/CRISPR/default.aspx

* http://www.mpegla.com/Lists/MPEG%20LA%20News%20List/Attachme...




You have got to be kidding me...

...you are not. What is this insanity?


From the about page of mpegla.com:

"We are the world’s leading packager of patent pools for standards and other technology platforms used in consumer electronics, as well as chemical, eCommerce, education, energy, environment, healthcare and biotechnology, manufacturing and materials, transportation and wireless technology. We developed the pool market space. (view link) Our business model supports a large number of patent users – creating reasonable access and profitable opportunities for all parties."


It's just about vampires.


This feels like the MPEG-LA is realizing that patent pools for video codecs are a short-lived industry and trying to figure out how they can extend their tendrils into something for another 20 years.


Sorry, I'm a bit lost. Am I missing something? According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPEG_LA

MPEG LA, LLC is a firm based in Denver, Colorado that licenses patent pools covering essential patents required[1][2] for use of the MPEG-2,[3] MPEG-4 Visual (Part 2), IEEE 1394, VC-1, ATSC, MVC, MPEG-2 Systems, AVC/H.264 and HEVC standards.

MPEG LA is not affiliated with MPEG, the Moving Picture Experts Group.

Doesn't that mean MPEG LA is affiliated with MPEG?


MPEG creates the MPEG codec standards, MPEG LA is a separate organisation that exists to sell patent licences required to actually implement the MPEG standards. They don't particularly need to be affiliated.


> They don't particularly need to be affiliated.

MPEG LA, however, would like you to believe that, seeing as LA is (or at least, was) an abbreviation of Licensing Authority -- something they clearly aren't.


Yep, patent trolls


Can somebody explain what exactly the problem is with this? Did they not have a hand in any of the research? Do they provide a genuinely useful service yes/no?


MPEG LA is a for profit firm that has historically specialized in getting huge corporations in a room, the patents surrounding a technology all of them need, and getting them to agree on a standard code to be licensed to everyone: Apple, Cisco, Dolby, Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi, MS, NTT, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, etc.

They have no biomedical or biochemical expertise. They have no hand whatsoever in discovering or understanding any science at all. It now appears as though they would like to try to get another group of mega-companies in a room to cross license their patents on Cas9 variants - there are as many (natural) variants as there are bacteria out there, and there are a combinatorially large number of synthetic variants on top of those. The Berkeley/MIT faceoff you've likely heard about in the news is over a very broad patent on using Cas9 therapeutically, but the space of natural Cas9 variants is actually broader still than even that patent could cover.

We as a country need to have a conversation about patents and how the policies that work for computer code may not be the same policies that work for small molecules, which may not be the same processes that work for genetically encoded materials. Each of those technologies are all extreme in terms of the cost of R&D, verifiability, producibility, reproducibilty, and longevity. It is difficult to shoehorn each of these technologies into the same patent framework.


"MPEG LA is a for profit firm that has historically specialized in getting huge corporations in a room, the patents surrounding a technology all of them need, and getting them to agree on a standard code to be licensed to everyone: Apple, Cisco, Dolby, Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi, MS, NTT, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, etc. "

That's very kind. They also historically have done everything they can to keep the pool alive by evergreening it, and allowing companies to evergreen it. They also have done pretty much everything they aren't supposed to since the original BRL the DOJ sent (https://www.justice.gov/atr/response-trustees-columbia-unive...)


"We as a country need to have a conversation about patents..."

People keep saying this about whole host of issues, and it makes me wonder if that's ever happened about anything. Have Americans ever "had a conversation" about any issue and decided anything collectively like that?


They want to earn money, nothing more. No knowledge is gained, no wisdom is earned here. Just plain old money interests at work. Some call it capitalism, i call it greed.


Actually it's called rent-seeking and many capitalists would also call it bad (namely stemming from the failures of the patent system).


Such organizations free up people like Jennifer Doudna to spend time in their labs (i.e., their area of expertise) rather than spending time sitting in meetings with lawyers and similar krill from companies that want to license the technology.

How is that not a valuable service?


If they're buying up patents, they're enriching the people who are making these inventions.




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