This one's from about a month ago, but I can't find any info on whether or not the bill has gone anywhere. It's yet another crazy proposal coming out of the Utah legislature, which seems to really lead the field in crazy proposals out of state legislatures. This one, sent in by Kevin Cummings
, is about a proposed bill that would effectively grant Utah control over the state's organisms/microbes
. Seriously. Apparently the legislator wants to create a patent-like
regime that would force anyone to pay up if they made anything with Utah organisms:
"If they're using Utah organisms, we think Utah as a state should benefit from royalties. Like a patent," said Sen. Lyle Hillyard
Of course, that's a total bastardization of what a patent is for. A patent is supposed to be a limited incentive to invent in an effort to promote the progress -- and, in exchange for the patent, you're supposed to teach the invention. None of those other aspects apply to what Hillyard is discussing here. There is no limit. There is no incentive (if anything, it takes away incentives from doing stuff in Utah). It doesn't promote progress (just giving money to the state) and there is no teaching or disclosure involved. In other words, it has all of the worst parts of a patent and nothing good at all. It's basically a blatant money-grab, highlighting the concept of ownership culture, where people try to claim ownership of things that cannot and should not be own-able.