There has been a lot of talk in the news about the patent office awarding obvious or frivolous patents. I recently came across this one awarded to Palsson, Covert and Herrgard. I only read the abstract which is given here:
“The present invention provides a method of refining a biosystem reaction network. The method consists of: (a) providing a mathematical representation of a biosystem; (b) reconciling said mathematical representation of said biosystem; (c) determining differences between observed behavior of a biosystem and in silico behavior of said mathematical representation of said biosystem under similar conditions; (d) modifying a structure of said mathematical representation of said biosystem, and (e) determining differences between said observed behavior of said biosystem and in silico behavior of said modified mathematical representation of said biosystem under similar conditions.”
If I am not mistaken this sounds very much like the scientific method. Does this mean we’re going to have to pay these scientists every time I study cellular biology? There might be more to it in the main text, but from the abstract it sure sounds like they’ve just patented the way we study the world, albeit a specific part of the real world, in this case, biochemical reaction networks.