Introducing the Archival Researcher Network

Editor’s Note: Amanda Pratt returns to the Pharmaceutical Inequalities series to introduce the Archival Researcher Network by Porta Sophia. Points’ Pharmaceutical Inequalities feature is funded by the Holtz Center and the Evjue Foundation.

At a time when the nonprofit psychedelic prior art library Porta Sophia is generating significant buzz for successful interventions on overly-broad psychedelic patent applications (see for example, coverage in this recent New York Times article), it’s worth reflecting on how a network of archival researchers is working behind the scenes to help shape the future landscape of psychedelic research and make these potential pharmaceuticals more equitably accessible. In the next two posts, I will be profiling Archival Researcher Network (ARN) participants to illustrate how their work supports Porta Sophia’s mission. Here, I’ll discuss the exigence of the ARN and its continued development. 

In a June 2021 Points post, Chris Elcock wrote about the emergence of Porta Sophia in the face of ever-growing pressures to patent psychedelic-related technologies. In the 18 months since, Porta Sophia has not only built a library of nearly 800 curated prior art sources (as of November 2022), but has also established itself as an important watchdog in the psychedelic patenting space. The team has directly intervened with sixteen overly-broad patents by submitting evidence of unpatentability to the USPTO and international patent offices, several of which have resulted in applicants canceling and/or amending claims and in one case, a rejection of claims from the USPTO

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