The Hinxton Group recently released its third set of recommendations titled: “Statement on Policies and Practices Governing Data and Materials Sharing and Intellectual Property in Stem Cell Science”. Tension is increasing between fairly new and pervasive policies and practices governing data and materials sharing and intellectual property in science, and norms of openness and free exchange. While many areas of cutting edge life science face these issues, they are especially pronounced in the field of stem cell research, where the tree-like shape of cellular differentiation makes the field especially prone to intellectual property rights holdings that can function as tollbooths to broad areas of work, and where there has been intense social and political debate over the ethics of human embryonic stem cell science. Some of these issues were highlighted by the recent opinion issued by the Court of Justice of the European Communities on Oliver Brüstle’s 1991 stem cell patent. The Hinxton Group’s November meeting sought consensus on some of the most pressing issues facing researchers and other stakeholders across academia, industry, and government, in an effort to move the debate forward toward solutions.