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When the fields of intellectual property law and biotechnology intersect, most analysis is driven by economic and ethical issues. This article examines these factors, but in relation to the emerging security threat posed by biohackers, or do-it-yourself (“DIY”) scientists, who operate free from oversight and industry norms at the fringes of the biotechnology community. Public health risks are poised to grow as these citizen-scientists race for lucrative discoveries in the new frontier of synthetic biology. This article proposes that the existing paradigm adjust accordingly to leverage regulatory compliance from the most ambitious biohackers looking to benefit from patent protection. The U.S. government could bring aspiring entrepreneurial biohackers into the fold by making non-institutional patent applicants undergo Center for Disease Control biosafety training, personnel screening, and lab registration one year prior to receiving patent application eligibility in order to reduce some of the potential risk of these unmonitored labs present.
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