Contemplation of patenting the Salk vaccine prior to the quote "Could you patent the sun?”
The Slate post Jonas Salk: Good at Virology, Bad at Economics alludes to
research by Jane Smith that shows that, before Murrow’s famous interview with Salk with the Salk quote -- “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” --, lawyers for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis looked into the possibility of patenting the Salk vaccine.
See also text at Reddit:
When Jonas Salk asked rhetorically “Would you patent the sun?” during his famous television interview with Edward R. Murrow, he did not mention that the lawyers from the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis had looked into patenting the Salk Vaccine and concluded that it could not be patented because of prior art – that it would not be considered a patentable invention by standards of the day.