As open science develops, it will co-exist with increasingly draconian campaigns to patent not just the products of research but the tools as well. As this article in the Yale Law Journal argues:
A growing counterintuitive insight, however, holds that patents actually deter innovation. At a fundamental level, patents conflict with traditional scientific norms of open sharing. Furthermore, proclaimers of the “tragedy of the anticommons” contend that overpropertization of resources results in heir underuse.5 In biotechnology, the increased patenting of “research tools”—materials, protocols, and equipment that comprise critical inputs of scientific experiments—has heightened anxieties that patents inhibit research and development.6 Revisiting the example of pharmaceuticals, patents on upstream “building block” materials or on foundational experimental protocols may hinder downstream investigations and efforts to translate basic science into useful drugs. In this manner, patents can stifle innovation and hamper progress.