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Microsoft Seeks Do-Let-The-Bed-Bugs-Bite Patent

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the you'll-feel-a-slight-pinch dept.

Biotech 176

theodp writes "In its just-published patent application for Adapting Parasites to Combat Disease, Microsoft lays out plans to unleash 'altered parasitic organisms' on humans, including mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, bed bugs, leeches, pinworms, tapeworms, hookworms, heart worms, roundworms, lice (head, body, and pubic), and the like. 'Irradiated mosquitoes can be used to deliver damaged Plasmodium to individuals,' explains Microsoft. 'Instead of contracting malaria, an individual receiving the damaged Plasmodium develops an immune response that renders the individual resistant to contracting malaria.' Don't worry about runaway breeding, advises Microsoft — 'a termination feature [that] can include programmed death' makes this impossible. As David Spade might say, I liked this movie the first time I saw it — when it was called Jurassic Park."

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first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34892890)

post

What do you mean all female? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893244)

Nature finds a way! I can't believe your arrogance.

Re:What do you mean all female? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893578)

Nothing but bitches and whores.

Re:What do you mean all female? (2)

Herby Sagues (925683) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893880)

Just keep in mind that Jurassic Park doesn't demonstrate that nature finds its way, it just claims so. In fact, the movie had to resort to the fact that Hammond had used frog DNA to complete the missing pieces, which gave the dinosaurs the ability to change sex when needed, which would be absurd considering that frogs are the last animals you would go for when trying to complete a dinosaur's genome. Also, sex change in an adult dinosaur would be physiologically impossible, unlike in a frog. So don't confuse Holywod with reality. It might be true that it's impossible to contain nature, but I see no real proof of that, and everything we know says that if you take enough precautions you should be able to contain your solution. The question is if a termination solution like the one described is enough, and it might very well not be. But if taken enough layered precautions, risk could be reduced enough that the benefits far outweight the risks.

Microsoft? Not SBRI? (5, Insightful)

adam (1231) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892892)

Organizations like SBRI [seattlebiomed.org] are doing really interesting work on genetically attenuated malaria vaccines [malariavaccine.org] , and the research isn't as scary as TFS makes it out to be (e.g. comparing it to Jurassic Park). (Here's a detailed slideshow [who.int] if you want to know the specifics.) The "runaway breeding" the article alludes to is ridiculous — we already have "runaway breeding" of anopheles mosquitoes, and as a result malaria kills a million or more persons per year, mostly in poor countries. The main issue with malaria vaccines is not "runaway breeding," but that eventually mutations may render the vaccine ineffective.

My main question here is: why is Microsoft filing for these patents? They have been involved in biomedics, afaik, only on the software and infomatics side [google.com] . Bill Gates, through his foundation, is generously giving grants [nytimes.com] to many organizations doing promising research. I didn't realize that Microsoft was directly involved in the research side of things. Did they buy assignment rights to this research (and potential patent)? Develop it themselves? That, I think, is the bigger story for me — not that this patent has been filed for, but that it's MSFT that is the assignee.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (4, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892996)

If it's from Microsoft, I'll wait for version 3. Then I'll keep waiting until Service Pack 1 is released.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893052)

In this case, the bugs are the feature.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893288)

In Soviet version, the features are bugs!

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893332)

I think that's,
In Soviet Russia, features bug YOU!

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893366)

In this case, the bugs are the future.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (1)

hoborg1 (1977356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893446)

That was a bad joke, and you should feel bad.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893176)

Side effects include death by anemia.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34894448)

The 90's called and wants its Microsoft sucks joke back.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893012)

MSFT morphing into a biotech for future growth?

Let's face it, computing is a mature stagnant industry - especially the desktop market(Facebook is a marketing company of old existing tech to the masses - hardly innovation or real growth). And when you see ex-Silicon Valley billionaires saying that biotech is going to be the next big thing (we've only just scratch the surface of what's going to happen), I can see why MS wants to go there.

Office and Windows day's won't be cash cows forever.

Microsoft? Do what you're best at! (1, Funny)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893430)

MSoftie: "The latest report is in. Our software is riddled with viruses. Bugs everywhere."
Gates: "I thought we were the best at software! What's the meaning of this?!"
MSoftie: "Apparently we are the best at viruses and bugs..."
Gates: (ding!)

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (1)

Herby Sagues (925683) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893890)

If (and it is a big if) Microsoft was succesful in moving just 50% of its enterprise customers to the cloud, their revenue would go up by approximately 400%. That's assuming no new products, no new releases and no increased penetration. Microsoft is growing in the not-so-low double digits year over year. I don't them as stagnant and the industry itself is growing faster than ever.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (2)

Nocuous (1567933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34894050)

Office and Windows day's won't be cash cows forever.

The genetically altered cows that produce cash are in the second round.

As a senior engagement manager at a consulting firm in the 90's, I once created an animated PowerPoint presentation that showed the customer literally as a cow, and the sales team as lions who came in to feast on its entrails after the technical staff knocked it over with dazzling technology. Money was pouring out of the cow as the sales people tore into it.

I got a standing ovation from the sales team. It occurred to no one that I was deliberately insulting them.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (1)

fooslacker (961470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34894358)

I'm looking forward to the Blue Skin of Death feature when a person core dumps all their genetic codes...granted it will have to be encrypted because they won't be allowed to use their own genes.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893036)

My main question here is: why is Microsoft filing for these patents?

They think they're Google?

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893046)

My main question here is: why is Microsoft filing for these patents? They have been involved in biomedics, afaik, only on the software and infomatics side.

Remember how you can lose your farm because some Monsanto-patented seed blows onto your property? Just wait until you lose your right to sue a pharmaceutical company because "somehow" their patented pharmaceuticals have left traces in your system. You don't get immunizations from the Gates foundation unless you provide patent protection to Big Pharma that may impair your ability to legally care for your people later. The B&M Gates foundation is just the latest tool for controlling the poorer nations. Ask yourself why the DoJ under John Ashcroft waved off the campaign against Microsoft after finding that they had illegally abused their monopoly position as long as they could be said to have had one, which is a long time indeed.

Develop it themselves? That, I think, is the bigger story for me -- not that this patent has been filed for, but that it's MSFT that is the assignee.

If you like that, you're going to love reading up on Microsoft patents on equipment to read and write DNA like a magtape.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893250)

Remember how you can lose your farm because some Monsanto-patented seed blows onto your property?

No I don't, because it has never happened.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893410)

Yes it has.

"In a landmark victory for corporations heavily invested in genetically engineered foods, on March 29 a Canadian judge ruled that farmer Percy Schmeiser of Bruno, Saskatchewan must pay $105,000 to Monsanto for illegally growing the company's genetically engineered rapeseed, from which canola oil is made. But Schmeiser says he never planted Monsanto's seeds. "How can somebody put anything on someone else's land, then claim it's theirs and say, 'We'll take it. We'll sue him. We'll fine him'?" he asks."

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Food/Bad_Seeds.html

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (3, Informative)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893600)

Yes it has.

"In a landmark victory for corporations heavily invested in genetically engineered foods, on March 29 a Canadian judge ruled that farmer Percy Schmeiser of Bruno, Saskatchewan must pay $105,000 to Monsanto for illegally growing the company's genetically engineered rapeseed, from which canola oil is made. But Schmeiser says he never planted Monsanto's seeds. "How can somebody put anything on someone else's land, then claim it's theirs and say, 'We'll take it. We'll sue him. We'll fine him'?" he asks."

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Food/Bad_Seeds.html

This is going to become the McDonald's Hot Coffee case of agriculture, I can tell. The facts are that the farmer recognized that some of his crop was contaminated with Monsanto's strain. Instead of complaining then, or suing Monsanto then, he harvested the seed and replanted it widely on his farm. He knew what he was doing. He was hoping it was finders, keepers. The court did not agree.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (4, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893746)

Agreed. He was using Round Up on those crops.. a pesticide that kills unmodified crops, demonstrating that he knew what he was doing.

It is the use of Round Up on Round Up Ready crops which is what the patent describes and what the farmer was violating.

If he had been just growing Round Up Ready crops without the use of Round Up he wouldn't have been violating the patent. If he had been just using Round Up to kill weeds then he wouldn't have been violating the patent. It's really simple. The only reason I can understand why people have trouble understanding this is just self induced ignorance.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (2, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893958)

While widely derided, the "McDonald's Hot Coffee" case was nowhere near as ridiculous as people have made it out to be. The woman received 3rd degree burns over 6% of her body. Her immediate medical bills for her needed skin grafts and hospital care (proven later in court) were $11,000.

She was more than reasonable about it, and initially asked McDonald's for only $20,000 to cover her hospital bills and other expenses. McDonald's flatly refused. Further attempts to negotiate met with nothing but stonewalling. Otherwise, it would never have gone to court. When finally forced to go to court, the judge sent both parties to arbitration in a last attempt to reach agreement. Again, McDonald's completely refused to settle. McDonald's complete refusal to take responsibility is the only reason it ended up in court.

She was also not awarded $2.9 million, as is often reported. That was the original judgment, but it was later reduced to about 1/10 of that amount, and much of that went to attorney's fees.

McDonald's was also found to be serving coffee at unsafe temperature, and their coffee is now served 40 degrees F cooler.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (1)

Polyphagic (1820108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893418)

Is that because you didn't lose _your_ farm or because farms haven't been lost from GM material drifting elsewhere?

The former is your testimony and the latter is public record.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893192)

The "runaway breeding" the article alludes to is ridiculous — we already have "runaway breeding" of anopheles mosquitoes, and as a result malaria kills a million or more persons per year, mostly in poor countries.

Yes but malaria doesn't create the ravenous walking dead now, does it?

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893232)

Yes but malaria doesn't create the ravenous walking dead now, does it?

It will after Microsoft gets its grubby fingers on it.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (2)

pyser (262789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893676)

In related news, Microsoft is developing a fruit fly that will attack Apple.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893994)

In related news, the successor to Intel's Sandy Bridge CPU architecture will be the size of a paramecium, and will have Windows 9 embedded in firmware. They refer to it by the codename "BRAINS!!!"

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893248)

We also have runaway breeding of people.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893262)

Perhaps their position on the grants give them the ability to take the IP from the research.

Anyways, I'm curious to how this isn't obvious from general insects carrying virus' and other things or old school biological warfare. I mean if we were hurdling dead cows over the castle walls in medieval times in order to infect the populations during a siege, then isn't prior art somewhat already established? What's new and novel here besides using it to cure instead of infect? And outside of that, the entire concept of using parasites to treat illness or administer medicine is nothing new. They were talking about genetically manipulating cells and bacteria to deliver payloads for cancer treatments back in the 80's.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (1)

tragedy (27079) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893276)

Mutations rendering the vaccine ineffective is the reason why you have to vaccinate aggressively. If you leave a pathogen nowhere to live, then it has nowhere to mutate into a version that the vaccine is ineffective against.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893316)

So it seems that the patent is the idea that you can

" modifying or making a parasitic organism that can be programmatically controlled by a stimulus external to the altered parasitic organism, the parasitic organism can be a powerful tool in delivering therapeutic compounds."

These guys obviously have never worked on malaria or any other parasite before. The malaria genome is notoriously difficult to understand let alone manipulate. And then creating something to synthesize and deliver drugs safely? This is a sci-fi fantasy that has been dreamed up by some rich microscoft programer/managers. They are not scientists or medical workers and obviously don't have any idea of the reality for getting an dangerous organism modified and approved for human testing. I call patent trolling and here in is an example of patenting an idea when there is no real product that can be demonstrated. The problem will be for the team of people who put in the effort to actually develop something like this only never to be able to realize the fruits of their labor because they get sued for patent infringement. Again an example of how patent reform is needed because now that this patent is published no one will put money into developing it. There is no profit in it for Univerisities and these people at microsoft do not have the skill set to develop it.

Re:Microsoft? Not SBRI? (1)

robotkid (681905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34894146)

The filers of the patent are all employees of microsoft's blue-sky R&D labs (research.microsoft.com) in their "health and well being" section. They are not associated at all with microsoft product development, or with the Gates foundation, this is microsoft's attempt to replicate what Bell Labs or Xerox parc used to be like, and you can only hire that caliber of talent out of academia by letting them do whatever they want. Good gig if you can get it.
And they are, in fact, people who primarily do work in bioinformatics and human-computer interfaces and such, this patent very much reads like something written by electric engineers as it spends 75% of the time talking about the monitoring apparatus and otherwise just rehashes textbook-level information on the actual pathology and biology of parasites. So for all of those who are somehow worried that this is a part of an evil conspiracy on microsoft's part, don't worry, these people don't actually have a wet lab with germs and bugs in it, nor would they know what to do with them if they had it.

April fools? (1)

GiveBenADollar (1722738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892916)

April 1st already?

Microsoft? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34892930)

I didn't know they had a germ warfare division...

Re:Microsoft? (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893020)

Thanks to Windows, they have plenty experience with virus and worm infections :-)

Re:Microsoft? (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893984)

This joke was too easy. I considered posting it earlier, but I figured someone else would do it.

history must have some prior art (2)

pbjones (315127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892934)

Surely history must have some prior art that preceeds this stuff???

Re:history must have some prior art (4, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893070)

Microsoft has been sucking our blood for 3 decades.

And they know a lot about bugs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34894154)

Isn't all of their software bug-ridden?

Re:history must have some prior art (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893082)

It really depends on how broadly you draw the term "prior art".

Various dubiously scientific(but, by luck or judgement, approximately correct) application of the principle of vaccination can be found going back a significant way. The canonical western example is Jenner's 1769 use of cowpox, which conveniently happens to be close enough to smallpox to generate immunity; but not close enough to be, well, smallpox. I'm fairly sure that there are various earlier examples of similar stuff that didn't get "textbookized" quite as thoroughly; but I'm not sure offhand. More sophisticated and systematic techniques for artificial attenuation of diseases that don't have convenient natural counterparts came later; but are still not news(though specific advances in that art may well be, as the requirements vary by organism...)

As for the notion of using damaged individuals to destroy or modify wild populations, the canonical starting point is probably Knipling and Bushland's 1958 development of the sterile insect technique. This one works on a number of insects who mate once, then lay their eggs. You saturate the environment with sterile(usually irradiated) males, and the females that they mate with lay unfertilized eggs. Population crash. The eradication of the screwworm by the US Department of Agriculture from the entire southern and south-western United States was its big debut. For reasons of efficiency, they extended the program all the way to Panama, which offers a convenient choke-point where control continues to this day.

However, those are fairly broad-brush "prior art", and the patent system generally doesn't work like that. Either they fucked up, or MS is patenting(as numerous other entities have) one of the zillions of little tweaks, refinements, and less 'heroic-theory-of-discovery'-friendly advances in medicine and parasite control.

Broad-brush, their proposal doesn't sound wildly novel; but with biology, the devil is in the details(when you are lucky. If you aren't lucky, the devil is in the details of the symbiotic gastrointestinal flora of the devil in the details...)

Re:history must have some prior art (1)

certron (57841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893930)

Funny you should mention this... There was widespread talk about using 'white hat worms' to patch systems infected with Code Red and Nimda, both enabled by bugs in MS products. The idea was that it would remove and patch infected/compromised systems and inoculate systems that had not yet been targeted.

I'm pretty sure there have been ideas floated around to distribute vaccines through alternate means similar to what MS is trying to patent.

Re:history must have some prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34894170)

"Protective immunity induced by irradiated mosquitoes infected with Plasmodium yoelii" - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2560174/ from 2008

Blue Screen Bugs (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34892938)

'a termination feature [that] can include programmed death'

I'm confident Microsoft can get that part right, it's their core competency.

Re:Blue Screen Bugs (2)

BillX (307153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893278)

Sounds more like DRM to me.

Re:Blue Screen Bugs (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893706)

Do the bugs turn blue and freeze up?

"Life will find a way" (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892960)

As David Spade might say, I liked this movie the first time I saw it — when it was called Jurassic Park."

To be fair, though, so long as they stay away from frog DNA they should be fine.

Sounds dangerous. (4, Insightful)

Cow007 (735705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892978)

This is not the type of thing to be fooling with at this stage in technology. Until we understand things better it wont be safe to do this. Nature has a way of surviving in unusual and surprising ways. Besides Microsoft, seriously even if you arent a mac user you would not put something in your body from this company with a history of poor quality and security problems in its software not to mention an emphasis on making money rather than making a quality product that makes money because it is good they make a mediocre one and people use it because they don't know any better or think they have no choice. Frankly even if Apple were to do this type of thing (which they wont) i would not mess with it anyway because they are a computer and software company. IBM Nanomachines? There is something dangerous from a company that actually specializes in such things is on the cutting edge of development and knows what the hell they are doing.

Re:Sounds dangerous. (3, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893218)

Forget safe. What's the worst that could happen? The creation of a mosquito-born parasite that kills millions of people every year? That's already the starting point, so it can't really get worse.

Re:Sounds dangerous. (3)

Firehed (942385) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893302)

I'm pretty sure that having two mosquito-transmitted diseases is, in fact, worse than our current situation of having one. Unless your goal happens to be fixing overpopulation, in which case it's perfect.

Re:Sounds dangerous. (2)

dido (9125) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893842)

There is already a large host of naturally-occurring mosquito-borne illnesses out there: malaria is just the most famous. There's dengue fever, yellow fever, filariasis, West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis, etc., and most of these diseases are at least as deadly as malaria. Whether or not adding one more will make things any worse than they already are depends on the characteristics of the disease being spread, and the characteristics of the mosquitoes spreading the disease (e.g. if they have wider range, have more resistances, etc.). If these factors are at most equal, you will have only made things worse by doing this only in so far as the new disease requires treatments different from the ones that have been around for ages.

Great idea (1)

Longjmp (632577) | more than 3 years ago | (#34892982)

'Instead of contracting malaria, an individual receiving the damaged Plasmodium develops an immune response that renders the individual resistant to contracting malaria.

Of course when I'm sitting in the jungle deep in Africa I will know the mosquito "biting" me right now is the good guy... probably because it has a flashlight attached or so.

Best idea ever. heh.

Re:Great idea (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893038)

Just look for the Microsoft logo on the mosquito.

Re:Great idea (1)

Longjmp (632577) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893058)

Can't wait to see a mosquito crashing with a blue screen ;)

Dirty hotel managers says... (5, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893006)

So, you call down to the manager to complain about the bedbugs. The manager says, "They're not bugs, they're features".

Re:Dirty hotel managers says... (1)

SourGrapes (1003959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893130)

Sorry, I just have to ask...your sig is horribly wrong on purpose, right? It made me physically wince twice, reading it.

Re:Dirty hotel managers says... (1)

aquila.solo (1231830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893308)

Only twice? ;-)

That's a prime example of grammar nazi bait. I would have just said whoosh, but you at least suspected it was intentional.

Re:Dirty hotel managers says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893246)

Ooooh. Feature creep.

Enough Bugs (3, Funny)

guttentag (313541) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893008)

Seriously, hasn't Microsoft unleashed enough bugs into the world, in places we really, really don't want them?

Has to be a mistake (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893010)

This has to be a mistake. This is so far out of Microsoft's area that it can only be a case of the patent office putting down the wrong name as assignee.

Re:Has to be a mistake (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893256)

Nope, it's totally legit. Even the inventors' declaration lists both "Adapting parasites to combat disease" and "c/o Microsoft Corporation" on the same page.

Pretty bizarre, though.

Re:Has to be a mistake (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893346)

This has to be a mistake. This is so far out of Microsoft's area that it can only be a case of the patent office putting down the wrong name as assignee.

Bugs, program death, viruses - what the hell are you talking about? As someone earlier noted, it's their core competency.

Re:Has to be a mistake (1)

Spykk (823586) | more than 3 years ago | (#34894192)

I suspect this is related to the Bill and melinda Gates Foundation [gatesfoundation.org] .

Not the first time... (4, Insightful)

drmofe (523606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893030)

...that a proposed Microsoft project bases its success on the coordinated operation of a collection of bugs.

Forced vaccinations (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893120)

Man - now you have no choice whether or not you want to be exposed to a vaccine. As someone who is allergic to a common ingredient in medications/vaccines this makes me really nervous... What will happen to people who have bad reactions to the new modified parasites? If you want to give people vaccines, give them the choice to receive them in a traditional injection. It is probably cheaper (at least in the short term) than properly developing and testing new types of parasites. I am actually quite irritated that MicroSoft thinks they have the right to make that choice for people.

Re:Forced vaccinations (1)

nhat11 (1608159) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893686)

Get infected with a vaccination or get infected with malaria. Not many choices here.

Re:Forced vaccinations (2)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 3 years ago | (#34894240)

Chances are you are allergic to something that's in the vaccine but is not the actual vaccine part - say, the adjuvant. Then, you can be sure those bug-induced "vaccines" would not elicit an allergic reaction, since no such thing would be present in the bite. You'd get the weakened/defective contaminant and what normally is in there (anti-coagulant, etc.). If you're not allergic to bugs normally, you shouldn't have any more of a reaction, from what I gather (though IANAP).

The more worrisome parts would be what would happen should the bug mutate or otherwise get out of our control and spawn something worse, or if the weakened disease isn't quite as weakened as we initially thought it would be.

First bed-bugs next windows bugs? (1)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893136)

The goal is to make people be ok with bugs, first in the bed, next on windows. No wonder they applied for this patent.

so when do the conspiracy theorist start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893142)

thinking this method can be used to apply mind control serums? lol

Microsoft slogans (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893188)

"Your potential. Our passion." => "Your blood. Our vaccines."
"Where do you want to go today?" => "Where do you want to be bitten today?"
"Start me up" => "Bite Me!"

Re:Microsoft slogans (1)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893264)

How bout a completely new one; "Oh, what we can do with bugs."

"Parasites Inside" (1)

theodp (442580) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893370)

With apologies to Intel...

I'm no biologist.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893198)

But I can't say I would like the idea of being bitten by something with dna encoding a programmed death

Odd assignment... (2)

larien (5608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893208)

I'm not quite sure why this was assigned to MS; I'm aware that the Gates foundation [wikipedia.org] is doing work in this arena, but why they'd want to file a patent on it is unclear and using MS to do so is downright weird.

Side note - slight irony in the fact the favicon for the website is the (now obsolete) Sun logo on an MS patent ;)

Re:Odd assignment... (3, Interesting)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893620)

I'm not quite sure why this was assigned to MS; I'm aware that the Gates foundation [wikipedia.org] is doing work in this arena, but why they'd want to file a patent on it is unclear and using MS to do so is downright weird.

Why are you confused? It's been clear since its inception that the Gates Foundation is the propaganda wing of Microsoft.

Re:Odd assignment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893822)

What?

What?

First of all, no it's not (at the most cynical it's the propaganda wing for Bill Gates). Second of all, what bearing would that have on patents. Third of all, what?

Re:Odd assignment... (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893894)

In the public's mind, Microsoft is Bill Gates. Therefore, anything he does reflects on Microsoft. In Bill Gates' mind, he is Microsoft, so anything he does is naturally a part of Microsoft.

Mimic, not Jurassik Park (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893210)

Mimic's plot is actually a lot more closer to that story than Jurassik Park.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119675/

I find an irresistable pull to do this.... (1)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893226)

I mean, seriously, doesn't just the words coming out of your mouth; "Irradiating mosquitoes." That, sounds like, so much fun. I'm not kidding.

What, no "In Soviet Russia..." jokes yet? (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893238)

Hmm, something must be bugging /. or its readers; What, no "In Soviet Russia..." jokes yet?

Even more indications... (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893296)

Even more indications that Microsoft (and all other proprietary software vendors) have nothing worth to patent in the software sphere to gain economic advantage... so they expand their field of "view."

Microsoft how is that pact with Oracle/Apple/EMC going? C or D planed yet?

What about the 'Genuine Advantage"? (1)

axlr8or (889713) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893300)

And mosquito piracy? Before the mosquito bites you'll have to call the software line, and have the bug authenticated. They will be to heavy to fly with those stupid reflective stickers stuck to them. On the other hand, it would make it simple to see them coming. Or, use as a new kind of disco lighting scheme. Ok, I know I'm trying to hard...

Is this a joke? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893318)

I can't think of anything more nightmareish that Microsoft doing genetic engineering.

This brings a whole new meaning to... (1)

ghbpiper (701001) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893330)

The BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH.

Tags (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893354)

No 'whatcouldpossiblygowrong" tag?

Slashdot, I am disappoint.

Um, where's the invention? (3, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893428)

I didn't think you could patent broad concepts. They haven't got any concrete work done. Heck, I haven't taken a biology class in 10 years and I can come up with this stuff.

Re:Um, where's the invention? (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893932)

agreed,this may even be taught in the current AP ones

Microsoft Medicine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893436)

Presents the following "screen" to each affected cell, and waits for the cell to press the button of its choice:

Do you really want to cure this condition?

                      [Yes] [No] [Abort]

Meanwhile, the patient dies as the primitive cell is frantically trying to push the non existing [Yes] button.

No thanks Mr. Hell Gates.

I'm scared (2)

folderol (1965326) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893540)

I always thought that Microsoft was technically incompetent, now I'm afraid they are dangerously incompetent :(

mod d0hwn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893684)

if desired, We rivalry, and w3'll Ago, many of you tangle of fatal

why the termination feature? (1)

after.fallout.34t98e (1908288) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893694)

Can someone explain why we might want to not let mosquitoes carrying a vaccine for malaria reproduce?

Re:why the termination feature? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893876)

Because mosquitoes don't have a limit on how many bacteria they can carry. They don't want to find out that the same GM mosquito that carries the cure to malaria also is an ideal host to carry say, AIDS or EBOLA, or the Bubonic Plague.

Of course, this is in reality not much more likely than a random mosquito developing the ability to carry those diseases. But it is an intelligent feature to add on to almost all GM creatures, at least until we develop significant experience in handling them.

Benefical STDs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34893744)

Perhaps they can create STDs that provide some health benefit, so we can screw for a happier tomorrow.

Job Postings? (1)

mauthbaux (652274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893798)

So when can I start applying for the jobs to do this sort of work? I can't seem to find any job openings on Microsoft's site that are even tangentially related to DNA and biotech.

Considering that (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893836)

Patents are only valid for 20 years, they really see a market for this stuff in that time frame?

Sounds to me like they just pay people to come up with ideas for patents...

Perfectly harmless, we promise! (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34893838)

Just like Outlook, Explorer, ... :)

Flying their true colours at last. (1)

tumutbound (549414) | more than 3 years ago | (#34894236)

'Microsoft' and 'parasite' in the same sentence. Who'd have thought we'd ever see that?

Fp spVonge (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34894534)

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