The Public Domain Gazette enables biological engineers and life science researchers to discover useful, open technologies to accelerate innovation for improved global health.

PDG is an online resource seeded with information from patent offices and born-open initiatives that enables researchers to easily identify technologies that are freely available in the public domain. Descriptions of technologies are enhanced through summaries of how these useful tools can be used to accelerate research. By making these off-patent and born-open technologies easily discoverable and accessible, the PDG will:

  • Improve discovery of public domain technologies for life science researchers via an online portal;
  • 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;
  • Facilitate research on the public domain in the life sciences through providing downloadable datasets and enabling user research.

Origins of the PDG

Effective use of technologies in the public domain is crucial to the growth and development of the global bioeconomy. Since the biotechnology revolution began in the early 1980’s, scientists in academia and industry have been patenting their inventions. Although the patent system is often associated with exclusivity and monopoly, it is actually one of the best mechanisms for building the public domain.

PDG was created as 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, Gathering for Open Science Hardware, and more. By connecting researchers with off-patent and born-open technologies that are freely available in the public domain, PDG aims to accelerate discovery and innovation in the life sciences for improved global health.

 

Dr. Linda Kahl is a dedicated and experienced advocate for biotechnology in the public interest. She is the Founder of SciScript Communications, a consulting firm serving research institutions, companies, government agencies, and nonprofits in the areas of life sciences, synthetic biology, and bioeconomics. Linda also maintains a law practice as Of Counsel with Perspectives Law Group and is a licensed patent attorney with bar admission to practice law in California and before the USPTO. She formerly served as Senior Counsel for the BioBricks Foundation, where she led development of the Open Material Transfer Agreement (OpenMTA). Linda has been a Herbert Smith Freehills Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Law, a Policy Fellow at the University of Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy, and a member of the Committee for Safeguarding the Bioeconomy for the US National Academies.

Dr. Jenny Molloy is the Founder and Director of the Open Bioeconomy Lab. She is also a Shuttleworth Foundation Research Fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge, studying the role and impact of open approaches to Intellectual Property for a Sustainable and Equitable Bioeconomy. Her work focuses on better understanding problems facing researchers accessing biological research tools in low-resource contexts, particularly Latin America and Africa. Jenny has been analyzing existing innovative solutions and the potential for local, distributed manufacturing of enzymes to improve access and build capacity for biological research. The broader aim of her research is to contextualize “open source” approaches to biotechnology within current narratives of innovation and the bioeconomy policy agenda.