The current system for granting patents restricts the free flow of scientific information and has damaging effects on both science and society, says a report published by the UK’s national academy of science.

The report, “Keeping Science Open: The Effects of Intellectual Property Policy on the Conduct of Science,” expresses concern that in new fields such as genetics and computing, researchers are being held back by patents that are too broad in scope, are not truly inventive and have little practical application.

“The current intellectual property system needs to be tightened for the sake of both science and society,” says John Enderby, vice-president of the Royal Society, which produced the report.
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