August 2007
The Coming Revolution in Scholarly Communications & Cyberinfrastructure
Brian Fitzgerald, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Kylie Pappalardo, Queensland University of Technology, Australia


CAMBIA has also applied for and obtained twelve patents of biological material in different patent offices around the world. CAMBIA’s approach involves obtaining patents over products or processes, but then licensing the use of those inventions under open terms. A primary object of this is to ensure that the biological material is not patented by others under restrictive terms, which do not allow for open access and use by others. Another object is to encourage innovation. CAMBIA

Strives to create new norms and practices for dynamically designing and creating the tools of biological innovation, with binding covenants to protect and preserve their usefulness, while allowing diverse business models for wealth creation, using these tools.19

CAMBIA has developed two open licences relevant to data – the BiOS Plant Enabling Technology Licence and the BiOS Genetic Resource Technology Licence. Paragraph 2.1 of each licence gives licensees

A worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free right and licence to make and use the IP & Technology for the purpose of developing, making, using, and commercializing BiOS Licensed Products without obligation to CAMBIA, including a sub-licence…20

This gives licensees the right to sub-licence the material, as long as it is sub-licensed under the same terms as contained in the original licence agreement.

CAMBIA’s model allows researchers to obtain patents over inventions that build upon CAMBIA’s research data. However, instead of using patent licences to “extract a financial return from a user of a technology,” CAMBIA advocates using a patent licence to “impose a covenant of behaviour.”19

According to CAMBIA, the purpose of the BiOS licences is that:

Instead of royalties, BiOS licensees must agree to legally binding conditions in order to obtain a licence and access to the protected commons. These conditions are that improvements are shared and that licensees cannot appropriate the fundamental “kernel” of the technology and improvements exclusively for themselves. Licensees obtain access to improvements and other information, such as regulatory and biosafety data, shared by other licensees. To maintain legal access to the technology, licensees must agree not to prevent other licensees from using the technology in the development of different products.19

By making the licence cost-free, CAMBIA hopes to encourage what founder Richard Jefferson terms:

The most valuable contribution to the license community: “freedom to innovate.”19

CAMBIA is currently developing a new version of the BiOS licence, which to our understanding will remove any positive obligation to share improvements in return for some type of covenant not to enforce rights in relation to patented improvements against members of the CAMBIA community.

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Reference this article
"The Law as Cyberinfrastructure," CTWatch Quarterly, Volume 3, Number 3, August 2007. http://www.ctwatch.org/quarterly/articles/2007/08/the-law-as-cyberinfrastructure/

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