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Australia Biotech The Courts Science

Australian Federal Court Rules For Patent Over Breast Cancer Gene 160

Bulldust writes "The Federal Court in Australia has ruled in favor of U.S. biotechnology company Myriad Genetics, enabling them to continue to hold the patent over the so-called breast cancer gene BRCA1. The same patent is also being reconsidered by the U.S. Supreme Court in the current session. From the article: 'Federal court Justice John Nicholas has ruled that a private company can continue to hold a patent over the so-called breast cancer gene BRCA1, in a decision that has devastated cancer victims.The decision is the first in Australia to rule on whether isolated genes can be patented, and will set a precedent in favor of commercial ownership of genetic material.'"
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Australian Federal Court Rules For Patent Over Breast Cancer Gene

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  • by DeathToBill ( 601486 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @06:54AM (#42908223) Journal

    Patents give an exclusive monopoly on the patented material. What exactly does a patent on a human genetic sequence give you? Does this mean that anyone with that sequence in their genome has violated the patent?

    Perhaps its my ignorance of genetic medicine, but the only way I can see this 'invention' being useful is in developing a test for predisposition to breast cancer. Does this mean no-one else is allowed to test for that genetic sequence?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 15, 2013 @07:33AM (#42908421)

    This is another example of where the patenting system (around the World it seems) has just gone completely stupid. A gene is a naturally occuring entity and should not be patentable. Patents are there to give right of ownership of a novel idea, concept or mechanism, not things that already exist in nature. Have I got to patent myself now to stop anybody else from 'owning' me?

    I think that cancer patients should be given the legal right to REFUSE to have these patented genes in their bodies.

    Please make it mandatory to rid patients of such genes in a timely and safely manner, at the patent holders expense.

    I think that's fair.

  • Re:fucking great? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by azalin ( 67640 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @08:54AM (#42908859)
    How does the patent office (and the judge) have the audacity to grant and uphold something like that? Last time I checked, patents were for "inventions" and not for "discoveries".
  • Re:fucking great? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @09:08AM (#42908969)

    it's monopolised for 20 years

    20 years of unnecessary deaths so capitalism can have its way.

    You mean "mercantilism". Capitalism by itself doesn't really care about free vs controlled market, but you can have both free market capitalism and that where only large accumulation of capital matters (great landlords in the past, big corporations nowadays). Note that mercantilism is not directly an opposition of free market, just mostly so -- unlike communism, it allows limited economic freedoms outside of big interests that the government chooses to support.

    Our governments do so not even out of malice, mostly due to corruption. Yet the effects are clear: war on culture (copyright), war on innovation (patents), with effects that include 20 years of unnecessary deaths in this very article.

  • Re:fucking great? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Vitriol+Angst ( 458300 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @11:47AM (#42910905)

    It's another good sign that people are truly waking up to the reality of what kind of society humanity needs going forward. There's no way a "capitalist society" can manage dwindling resources on a finite planet -- or "reducing markets" which would occur if we started to deal with overpopulation.

    A few years ago, I finally read comments on Slashdot that were against the "sainted" Libertarian culture that was so prevalent. Perhaps some young studs who could program were now older, and realized that they wouldn't always be healthy, nor that everyone they knew was always going to "win" or lose based on merit. You get some maturity and you realize "shit happens" -- we aren't always in control.

    So now I'm reading someone talking about "mercantilism" and I have hope again for the future. Every knuckle-dragger who wants to promote "unfettered free markets" -- as if there is such a thing outside of a failed state -- refers to Communism (and not the "good" kind). Mercantilism, however, was something our sainted "founding fathers" supported, and it doesn't have the taint of "foreign solutions".

    The next thing you know, people are going to realize that we could have the Post Office be the bank since the "Big Government" already takes all the risk for the Banks anyway. Imagine a world where every politician didn't automatically have to be in the pocket of some bank just to get elected to anything above city council.

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