What is Open Source Biotechnology?

BiOS (Biological Innovation for Open Society) is also sometimes called “Biological Open Source” because it merges cutting-edge patent informatics with collaborative development and dissemination of “enabling” molecular technology in an approach similar to Open Source software.

Open source works by permitting innovators dispersed worldwide to use and improve technology after agreeing to conditions that help prevent formation of patent thickets blocking delivery. In software, from individual coders to major corporations, the developers and users agree via open source licensing to protect the capability to use and improve the software, from advanced business applications to “basic”, bottom-of-the-stack tools such as operating systems.

Businesses that own intellectual property in the software field often license it under open source to protect and advance rapid development and debugging. The BiOS Initiative aims to advance nutrition and food security in a similar way, by protecting the capability to use and improve basic biotechnology and genetic resource toolkits.

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