Geoffrey.landis writes "A friend-of-the-court brief filed by the US Department of Justice says that genes should not be patentable. 'We acknowledge that this conclusion is contrary to the longstanding practice of the Patent and Trademark Office, as well as the practice of the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies that have in the past sought and obtained patents for isolated genomic DNA,' they wrote (PDF). The argument that genes in themselves (as opposed to, say, tests made from genetic information, or drugs that act on proteins made by genes) should be patentable is that 'genes isolated from the body are chemicals that are different from those found in the body' and therefore are eligible for patents. This argument is, of course, completely silly, and apparently the US government may now actually realize that."
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