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Supreme Court Throws Out Human Gene Patents 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the klingon-gene-patents-still-ok dept.
thomst sends this quote from an Associated Press report: "The Supreme Court on Monday threw out a lower court ruling allowing human genes to be patented, a topic of enormous interest to cancer researchers, patients and drug makers. The court overturned patents belonging to Myriad Genetics Inc. of Salt Lake City on two genes linked to increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The justices' decision sends the case back down to the federal appeals court in Washington that handles patent cases. The high court said it sent the case back for rehearing because of its decision in another case last week saying that the laws of nature are unpatentable. In that case, the court unanimously threw out patents on a Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., test that could help doctors set drug doses for autoimmune diseases like Crohn's disease."
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Supreme Court Throws Out Human Gene Patents

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  • Now the patent trolls can't sue me for violating a megacorps' 'patent' because I'm still breathing!
  • Not exactly... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus,slashdot&gmail,com> on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:28PM (#39478795) Homepage Journal

    "The Supreme Court on Monday threw out a lower court ruling allowing human genes to be patented, a topic of enormous interest to cancer researchers, patients and drug makers. The court overturned patents belonging to Myriad Genetics Inc. of Salt Lake City on two genes linked to increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

    Not quite. The Supreme Court overturned the Federal Circuit ruling that the patents were valid and infringed, and remanded back for reconsideration based on the recent Prometheus v. Mayo case. Basically saying, "take another look." They did not however "overturn patents" nor did they "throw out human gene patents" as the headline states.

    We can make predictions and argue about what the Federal Circuit will likely decide on remand, and what the Supreme Court might then do if re-appealed, but it's not nearly as over as the headline or summary say.

    • Re:Not exactly... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by YodasEvilTwin (2014446) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:30PM (#39478815) Homepage
      Thank you for fighting the good fight on irresponsible journalism, good sir.
    • Re:Not exactly... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2012 @06:04PM (#39479057)

      The headline gave me hope. Patenting human genes or any naturally occurring genes is insane. You might as well patent blue eyes. Just because you are the first one to see it and identify it doesn't make it personal property especially when most of us have it in our bodies already. This was always about controlling whole lines of research. We have people dying from breast cancer, and yes men die from it too, while a corporation pisses all over the gene that causes it to prevent others from working on a cure that involves the very gene that causes it. Who cares if thousands and potentially millions die when there are corporate profits at stake! The whole system is insane.

      • by Blindman (36862)
        You may get your wish, but not today.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by viperidaenz (2515578)
        First off, I agree with you, patenting genes is stupid.

        Who cares if thousands and potentially millions die when there are corporate profits at stake!

        However, just because something can save the lives of millions is not a reason to not allow it to be patented. Pretty much every safety feature in cars is covered by numerous patents. Many may have expired by now but ABS, Traction Control, Seat belts... were all covered by patents at some point.

        • Re:Not exactly... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Sique (173459) on Monday March 26, 2012 @06:30PM (#39479299) Homepage

          But why should the gene be patented? The patent seeker in question didn't invent the gene, nor did he invent the way it expresses into proteins, nor did he invented the proteins synthesized. Someone discovered what role the gene plays in the metabolism, but that's a discovery, not an invention.

          • by rtb61 (674572)

            So accurately the only patents that should apply is upon the equipment used to uncover the nature and function of genes, which of course they already are.

            • by Shavano (2541114)

              No, you could also specific non-obvious applications of the knowledge.

              A drug that mimics the action of the gene would be a non-obvious application. (All drugs being non-obvious.)

              A test that measures an enzyme regulated by the gene would be an obvious application, unless there was something novel about how the test works.

          • Re:Not exactly... (Score:4, Informative)

            by pepty (1976012) on Monday March 26, 2012 @08:29PM (#39480287)

            But why should the gene be patented? The patent seeker in question didn't invent the gene, nor did he invent the way it expresses into proteins, nor did he invented the proteins synthesized. Someone discovered what role the gene plays in the metabolism, but that's a discovery, not an invention.

            That's not what the patents cover.

            They usually cover:

            1. Adding or removing genes from an organism to give the organism a useful new phenotype (corn that makes bt toxin).

            2. A process for manufacturing a protein that includes taking it out of the original organism and expressing it in a different one so that you get a higher yield.

            3. A diagnostic based on the presence of a particular version of a gene or protein (what this case was about)

            4. A new version of a protein that is more useful than the natural one.

            Some are still pretty obnoxious though.

            • That's not what the patents cover.

              They usually cover:

              1. Adding or removing genes from an organism to give the organism a useful new phenotype (corn that makes bt toxin).

              2. A process for manufacturing a protein that includes taking it out of the original organism and expressing it in a different one so that you get a higher yield.

              3. A diagnostic based on the presence of a particular version of a gene or protein (what this case was about)

              4. A new version of a protein that is more useful than the natural one.

              Some are still pretty obnoxious though.

              But none of the things you list actually require that a gene be patented, they are all more or less processes that happen to involve genes or make use of genetic information. For instance, in principal there is no reason that a genetic diagnostic test manufacturer has to patent the gene that is being tested for, they could just patent the test, except that their lawyers told them it would be a good idea to include the gene itself in the patent application, and geniuses down at the patent office have gone al

            • Re:Not exactly... (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2012 @01:08AM (#39481597)

              But why should the gene be patented? The patent seeker in question didn't invent the gene, nor did he invent the way it expresses into proteins, nor did he invented the proteins synthesized. Someone discovered what role the gene plays in the metabolism, but that's a discovery, not an invention.

              That's not what the patents cover.

              They usually cover:

              1. Adding or removing genes from an organism to give the organism a useful new phenotype (corn that makes bt toxin).

              2. A process for manufacturing a protein that includes taking it out of the original organism and expressing it in a different one so that you get a higher yield.

              3. A diagnostic based on the presence of a particular version of a gene or protein (what this case was about)

              4. A new version of a protein that is more useful than the natural one.

              Some are still pretty obnoxious though.

              Please mod the parent up, these are crucial details here, and as always, the devil is in the details.

              To clarify some more, in the pharmaceutical world, the simplest standard for patent-ability of a novel chemical compound is that it does not exist in nature. So penicillin itself, for example, cannot be patented because it occurs naturally in mold. A process for purifying it from mold, however, is quite patentable. Or, if you chemically modified penicillin slightly by adding a doohickey bit to one end such that it even works on penicillin-resistant bacteria, that would also be patentable since penicillin doesn't exist in nature with the doohickey bit. Sure, that may seem like cheating, slightly, but there is undeniably much value added in figuring out exactly how many ways you can tinker with penicillin and make new antibiotics.

              In the biotech world, this simple and commonsense criteria has been ridiculously abused. The argument, summarized briefly, is that when you isolate a gene you have to snip it out of the rest of the DNA before you can run a test on it, and that isolated snippet doesn't naturally occur in the universe (only the whole honking genome does). Semi-magically, the gene is not patentable inside a genome as it naturally exists, but if you cut it out, it's a "different molecule" that is now patentable.

              What about the whole test aspect, you say?

              There is some language in the patent law that the details of your innovation must be "non-obvious to a person skilled in the art".

              Once you know the sequence of the gene involved, the mechanics of doing a test is pretty much something you could do yourself in a high school biology lab. The principles are taught in intro biology textbooks, you can order all the reagents you need and use a mail order sequencing lab for probably under 50$ a pop. So there's really no value added in providing the details of how to make a test for a gene once you've isolated it. Any idiot could teach themselves how to do it over the weekend, it requires no particular expertise whatsoever once you know the sequence of the gene. So defending the process of designing a test once the gene is known clearly does not pass that test for patentable in and of itself.

              Proponents of gene patents argue that it would be the most equitable mechanism to help recoup the massive expenses involved in figuring out exactly what genes are involved with disease and how to design a treatment plan based on the results of specific, targeted gene tests. Which would be great if there was anything in the patent code that ensured the people who figured out how a gene works and why you would care to test for it end up with the patent for it. But as it stands now, there are no standards on what level of detail must be provided for the "how" and "why" aspects in a gene-test patent application, just the raw sequence itself.

              In the Myriad Genetics case, for example, the company with a monopoly on test for a major breast cancer gene was not the same group of people who first isolated the gene and figured out what it did. Academi

              • There is some language in the patent law that the details of your innovation must be "non-obvious to a person skilled in the art".

                Once you know the sequence of the gene involved, the mechanics of doing a test is pretty much something you could do yourself in a high school biology lab.

                But that's an argument that these should be invalid under 35 USC 103, not under 35 USC 101. While I don't disagree with your post, I feel that these arguments about patent-eligible fields (including whether even the most novel, innovative, nonobvious software in the world should be patentable) seem to be looking at the wrong solution to the problem of too many obvious patents being granted.

          • The patent seeker in question didn't invent the gene

            Indeed, but what if they had? Enzyme design is already big business, but it's mostly been restricted to in vitro evolution rather than true, "rational" design. Better computational and biochemical tools are changing the situation, though.

            If someone designed a protein structure which achieves a novel function (read: a new, molecular machine), should it be eligible for patent? What about the gene that encodes that protein? Is another form of IP more appropriate?

            If such an enzyme or its nucleic acid sequence

        • by MrKevvy (85565)

          "However, just because something can save the lives of millions is not a reason to not allow it to be patented. Pretty much every safety feature in cars is covered by numerous patents. "

          This comparison is invalid. A car is already an expensive, in many cases unnecessary, and arguably luxury item. Patented safety features add a small fraction to its cost, so it's likely if the car can be afforded then so can the safety features. In contrast, alternatives to patented pharma, tests, procedures etc. may not be

        • Re:Not exactly... (Score:4, Informative)

          by Shavano (2541114) on Monday March 26, 2012 @11:04PM (#39481079)

          No, it's not a reason not to patent it. The reason is that the gene existed and did what it did before you discovered what it did. It doesn't matter that you just discovered the gene that makes me able to regulate the insulin in my blood. I've been using that gene for that purpose and so has almost everybody else. If you now use that new knowledge to make a drug that helps diabetics, good for you. You can patent THAT DRUG. But you shouldn't be able to patent the gene or the mechanisms by which it operates. Those are simply facts of nature. Those facts belong to nobody even though you discovered them.

          Now if somebody else figures out how to make the same thing happen with a different drug (that works better than yours or is easier to produce) THAT person should own the rights to their drug. I consider every drug to be non-obvious, because it's never obvious that a novel substance when introduced into the body will be safe and effective. Often all the indications are that a candidate drug will work, only it proves to have unsafe side effects or doesn't work because of some factor that the inventors couldn't know about without trying it in real patients.

          As for patenting genes in living organisms, it shouldn't be allowed unless all of the organisms are to be contained in a secure environment under your physical control. Once it escapes control, only the original maker should be held liable for its propagation and any economic damages that it caused.

        • by P-niiice (1703362)
          Yes but seatbelts don't occur in nature.
      • The headline gave me hope

        Too bad it was almost completely wrong. Back to dark despondency for you. Tell you what, wander over to this thread [slashdot.org] and really get depressed.

        Give up.

      • by mikael (484)

        Could you imagine what would happen if these corporations were able to not only patent these genes but also derived works from random combinations of these genes. Allowing parents on detection processes and chemical formula seems fair enough.

      • by Shavano (2541114)

        It's not the blue eyes themselves that are the subject of the patent. It's the business process wherein the person with blue eyes is photographed and used to advertise a product.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I doubt any head of any big multinational corporation give a rat's ass about anyone's life except their own. Otherwise there would have been doors on Purina's elevator in 1959 and my grandfather wouldn't have been a vegetable for the next fifteen years until he died, and the Sago Mine [msn.com] wouldn't have exploded in 2006, killing two dozen men.

        Do you really think a 1%er cares about anyone but himself and close friends and relatives? If your death will make him richer, you'll die. Damed hard to become a multimilli

    • by icebike (68054) *

      Not quite. The Supreme Court overturned the Federal Circuit ruling that the patents were valid and infringed, and remanded back for reconsideration based on the recent Prometheus v. Mayo case. Basically saying, "take another look." They did not however "overturn patents" nor did they "throw out human gene patents" as the headline states.

      In typical fashion, the summary glosses over the technical procedure. Thanks for setting that straight.

      Nevertheless, its pretty much over, because to get around Prometheus, the lawyers lower courts are going to have to do some fancy dancing, and they are unlikely to do this anytime soon. In the meantime Prometheus settles, and becomes the standard by which all of these bio/genome patents are litigated.

      Like , these decisions tend to put a significant change in momentum into the legal system, and in the pre

      • Nevertheless, its pretty much over, because to get around Prometheus, the lawyers lower courts are going to have to do some fancy dancing, and they are unlikely to do this anytime soon. In the meantime Prometheus settles, and becomes the standard by which all of these bio/genome patents are litigated.

        Not necessarily, or at least, I wouldn't hold my breath... They can gloss against Prometheus by saying that isolated DNA doesn't exist in nature and therefore is not a "law of nature" itself, same as the Supreme Court found vulcanized rubber to be patentable in Diehr, even though rubber itself existed.

        Doesn't mean that the Supreme Court wouldn't reverse again, but that's certainly one possible take.

        • by pepty (1976012)

          Not necessarily, or at least, I wouldn't hold my breath... They can gloss against Prometheus by saying that isolated DNA doesn't exist in nature and therefore is not a "law of nature" itself, same as the Supreme Court found vulcanized rubber to be patentable in Diehr, even though rubber itself existed.

          But if "isolated DNA" is the anchor they're holding onto, they're also screwed. There are plenty of ways of running the test without creating Myriad's version of isolated DNA, some of them have the benefit of being useful for running hundreds of DNA tests at once. Even worse, the price of sequencing your genome is expected to drop to 1/3 of the cost of Myriad's test. Once you have that data, there is already free software out there that will score the test for you (or your doctor).

          Cheap sequencing is bas

  • Some good news about stupid patents.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    As someone with an auto-immune disease (Crohn's) who deals with Prometheus Labs every so often, I say this is a very good thing!

  • WOW... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Fantasmo (1057616) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:36PM (#39478871)

    Nature is unpatentable, something everyone knows and understands until you get a law degree.
    Please, please, please let this ruling stick!

    These same justices also need to decide that Monsanto's GMO crop products are WILLFULLY contaminating other people's property. If Monsanto can stop their GMOs' pollen from being carried by the wind, then they can lay claim to all plants with Monsanto genes, until then...

    • Re:WOW... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by garyebickford (222422) <gar37bic@NospaM.gmail.com> on Monday March 26, 2012 @06:00PM (#39479033)

      Yes. Someone should prosecute Monsanto for criminal trespass. (No joke, it's a valid legal principle - companies and people have been prosecuted criminally and also sued for damages for allowing their critters, fumes, liquids, waste etc. to escape their property and cause damage on others' property. With respect to Monsanto, it's a bit more complicated because Monsanto is essentially allowing, encouraging and forcing their customers to do the trespassing. I suppose that could be considered conspiracy?

      • If you open that bag of worms it means any farmer could sue any other farmer for insects and pollen going across a property line.

        It would be a hoot for sure.

        • That bag of worms has been open for many years. It's not unlike a complaint that the slob next door has allowed his trash to build up to the point where it's sliding down the pile into my yard, or that he continues to encourage his dog to poop in my yard. A single, casual instance isn't usually (AFAIK, IANAL) grounds but obviously, intentionally and especially repeatedly offending in these ways is more likely to be grounds.

    • by andydread (758754)
      The fact that you can take a gene from one life form, insert it into another life form and patent the result, and sue others when your genetic combination contaminates their property is totally ludicrous. However it is the law as Monsanto has purchased it and we all have to live by the law. Unless we the people lobby to get the law changed Monsanto will continue unabated until all food staples become Monsanto's "intellectual Property" and you wont be able to plant anything useful without paying a license
      • The fact that you can take a gene from one life form, insert it into another life form and patent the result, and sue others when your genetic combination contaminates their property is totally ludicrous.

        If that ever happened, it would be. That's just an internet myth though. There have been a handful of lawsuits (17 per year on average IIRC) but in all those cases in was more than just cross pollination involved. And please, contamination is when you get contaminants. Pollen is not pollution.

        Lets hope the "You can't patent nature" rule sticks

        You must really like Red Delicious apples. A lot of people prefer other varieties like HoneyCrisp, but since you don't want patents on life, you must be opposed to all things developed as a result of those patents

        • by andydread (758754)

          If people are planting non-Monsanto crops and Monsanto seed pollinates their crop then the Monsanto trans-gene will be in the pollinated crop and therefore the non-Monsanto crop is contaminated with the Monsanto trans-gene. This is a fact. Only industry types are pushing back against that fact because the world "contamination" is not favourable just like labelling foods GMO is not desirable by the industry and their lobbyists.

          It has nothing to do with Red Delicious apples however I would like to know w

          • If people are planting non-Monsanto crops and Monsanto seed pollinates their crop then the Monsanto trans-gene will be in the pollinated crop and therefore the non-Monsanto crop is contaminated with the Monsanto trans-gene. This is a fact.

            That describes every variety on the planet, GE or not. If I'm growing Blue Bonnet rice and you're growing a modern, non-GE, not-from-Monsanto hybrid, I can still get, say, the sd-1 gene from your rice. What if I don't want that gene?

            Only industry types are pushing back against that fact because the world "contamination"

            Industry types and those of us who know enough about agriculture to know what the word means.

            If people are planting non-Monsanto crops and Monsanto seed pollinates their crop then the Monsanto trans-gene will be in the pollinated crop and therefore the non-Monsanto crop is contaminated with the Monsanto trans-gene. This is a fact.

            Mandatory labeling of food as non-vegan, non-Kosher, or Haram is also not favorable to industry, nor is labeling if something is produced via embryo rescue, mutagenesis, induced polypl

            • by andydread (758754)

              That describes every variety on the planet, GE or not. If I'm growing Blue Bonnet rice and you're growing a modern, non-GE, not-from-Monsanto hybrid, I can still get, say, the sd-1 gene from your rice. What if I don't want that gene?

              The difference here which you neglect to mention is that Monsanto actively trespasses onto farmland and collect samples in an effort to sue any contaminated non-Monsanto farmer out of business through the use of patents.

              Industry types and those of us who know enough about agriculture to know what the word means.

              Read lobbyists and public relation departments of massive multinationals like Monsanto that aim to own all the "intellectual property" behind all food staples throughout the world. Not the actual people on the ground. Farmers that are getting battered with patents from Monsanto. People li

    • There's a big difference between patenting something you found and patenting something you made. Ignoring the difference is just disingenuous.

      And contamination? If I grow open pollinated crop variety A, and someone else grows variety B, the pollen of variety B, although it will cross with mine and thus cause me damage if I wish to maintain my variety, is not 'contamination.'

  • by ozduo (2043408) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:40PM (#39478893)
    didn't Levi patent Genes years ago or did he just invent them?
    • Like most slashdotters you are getting confused between patents and copyrights. Levi copyrighted it.

      • by ozduo (2043408)
        Correct: but you missed my other mistake that I confused Genes with jeans, or was I making a pun and I needed to confuse those two facts to brighten your day? The first law of journalism "Never let the facts spoil a good story!"
  • It just seems like they have set up new ground rules by which an army of lawyers will translate into a high-cost-of-entry market (jn a market with an already bloated cost of entry). I would not hold my breath in hoping that corporations will change their practices...
  • /. car analogy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by vlm (69642)

    Please rate my standard /. car analogy:

    Last week they overturned a patent on painting a car such that it reflects light with a spectral peak at 650 nm, in other words, its painted red, with the justification that red being a certain wavelength is a fairly obvious natural fact rather than a patentable invention. Today they kicked a patent on "a car cooling system that cools by accepting cool air at the radiator intake, heating it, and exhausting the heated air thus cooling the engine" back for further revie

    • Re:/. car analogy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mellon (7048) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:51PM (#39478969) Homepage

      So basically what you're saying is that there's no obvious distinction to draw between things being red and things being hot, and so either both should be patentable, or neither should. This is entirely correct. Patents are a bad idea. We should just get rid of them entirely. Okay, now, back to the real world. In the real world, we aren't abandoning patents altogether, so courts have to litigate these stupid angel-dancing-on-the-head-of-a-pin questions, and they have to come up with plausible-seeming justifications for invalidating patents that are clearly bogus, while still pretending that these same justifications don't apply to less glaring cases to which, as you have pointed out, they really do apply. Sux2bus.

  • ABOUT TIME! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quixote9 (999874) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:45PM (#39478925) Homepage
    I'm a biologist and I watched the whole evolution of PCR and the mad scramble to patent every bit of human DNA with stunned disbelief. Did the legal beagles not understand that they were allowing the equivalent of patenting somebody else's books in a library?

    Apparently, they didn't.

    But, after a generation or so, and a festering swamp of patents, the truth seems to be dawning on them. I shall watch our future progress with considerable interest.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This mess is highly profitable for the legal beagles. What I want to know is where all the anti-lawsuit conservatives went. After funding a frivolous lawsuit against a sitting president, they seem to be ignoring the real problems.
    • Re:ABOUT TIME! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rahvin112 (446269) on Monday March 26, 2012 @06:49PM (#39479491)

      Well Myriad's been making a TON of money charging people $3500 for a $200 test all because they patented the gene in question (not the test which is standard DNA profiling).

  • by Cazekiel (1417893) on Monday March 26, 2012 @05:49PM (#39478955)

    Love this from the article... The justices' decision sends the case back down for a continuation of the battle between the scientists who believe that genes carrying the secrets of life should not be exploited for commercial gain and companies that argue that a patent is a reward for years of expensive research that moves science forward.

    A reward for doing their jobs, what they're paid to do. Isn't that what their paycheck is for, the money they get from the medications/equipment/etc. they develop? Would they seriously stand in the way of a group of lower-on-the-totem-pole scientists for actually coming up with a cure, claiming "No, you can't cure this strain of ovarian cancer, since it involves such-and-such gene--we own that."? The fact that I lean toward 'yea, they would, wouldn't they?' makes me feel ill. We live in a world where we can be sued for posting a kid's birthday party on youtube with the 'Happy Birthday' song in it, and screw us all if we get cancer and can't rely on different, smaller companies that were on the brink of discovering cures but didn't have the dough to fight the C&D orders.

    • A reward for doing their jobs, what they're paid to do. Isn't that what their paycheck is for, the money they get from the medications/equipment/etc. they develop?

      Their argument is, if they can't get a patent on it, anyone can use their hard-earned research to make their own medication/equiptment and those who paid to do the research are not reembursed. The scientists themselves may have been paid, but the company that paid them will will have essentially thrown the money down the toilet.

      The alternative to patents is not publishing the results of anything that cost you money to produce.

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        No, the alternative to patents is public funding grants.

        • So I guess that means complete politicization of scientific inquiry. That will work just great.

          • by dgatwood (11270)

            Public funding need not be controlled by politicians. The government could just as easily spin off nonprofit organizations to make the decisions....

            • Non profit GSEs don't have a good track record.

  • i mean, can we get the death penalty for these fuckers? waterboarding/toenail torture, at least?
  • by Blindman (36862) on Monday March 26, 2012 @06:13PM (#39479131) Journal
    The Supreme Court didn't rule on the patentability of genes. The Supreme Court sent the case back down to the Federal Circuit with instructions to try again in light of a different and recent Supreme Court case, Prometheus v. Mayo. Ordinarily, this would be RTFA, but since the article is wrong, it would be RTF(case), but I'm guessing the writer isn't here.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Genes were not "invented" or "created" they were only discovered. They should never have been patentable.

    If you could patent a gene then you would be able to patent a river if you discovered it first.

    Doesn't make sense.

    • Technically they never have been. Applications of genes are what have been patented. Of course it is easy to create a broadly scoped patent that covers every conceivable application for a specific gene.

  • The Yahoo article seems to talk about patenting the gene sequence fragment used to detect the sequence in a human. The company that isolated that gene sequence wants patent protection so they can sell the test without competition from another company that reads the patent to generate a similar test without the R&D costs. This sounds similar to Drugs vs Generic Drugs.

    I think they can patent their test, but not the genes they are looking for. If they do have a patent on the gene sequence, then can't th

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yes allow methods to test for the effects of having the gene to be patented. BUT TIME LIMITED THE PATENT

    Here is a really good example why time limits are necessary: And why the Disney Laws are so evil in the field of medicine!

    the shape of the HCV virus is patented and anyone who uses a computer algorithm to search for the shape with electron microscopy must pay a drug company for the right to do so. The end result is that a crucial test to count the virus that could be done inexpensively is now prohibitivel

  • indeed. If they could only extend this to "algorithmic solutions to conceptual problems", since if the concept exists, then the solution derives from it, we can throw out software patents for good.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

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