Public Domain Gazette

Our Vision

Our vision is enabling biological engineers and life science researchers to discover useful, open technologies to accelerate discovery and innovation underpinning improved health. This vision is a response to the growing number of expired patents and increasing dedication of technologies to the public domain through initiatives such as OpenPlant, Structural Genomics Consortium, BioBricks Foundation and other organisations generating ‘born open’ technologies. Many useful technologies such as fluorescent proteins, DNA assembly techniques and enzymes are in the public domain but are neither easily discoverable nor accessible since they typically appear only on websites of originating institutions, are buried in patent databases or scattered in journal articles.

Some of the challenges for researchers in leveraging these public domain tools and determining how and when to apply a broad spectrum of intellectual property strategies to increase the impact of their inventions stem from a lack of appropriate educational materials that are accessible, tailored to life sciences and comprehensive in their coverage. 

Our Aims and Objectives

We therefore propose to establish “The Public Domain Technology Chronicle”, an online resource seeded with information from the US and European patent offices that makes discovery of off-patent and open technologies possible, and is enhanced through summaries of how these useful tools can be used to accelerate research and ultimately improve health. The Public Domain Technology Chronicle aims to:

  1. Improve discovery of public domain technologies for life science researchers via an online portal.
  2. Enhance the value of publicly accessible information through curation and crowdsourced domain expert knowledge of how open technologies can accelerate research and ultimately improve health.
  3. Facilitate research on the public domain in the life sciences through providing downloadable datasets and enabling user research.

Project status

A pilot is underway which will demonstrate the potential power of the resource.