U.S. Says Genes Should Not Be Eligible for Patents
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The New York Times
Posted: November 29th, 2010
Reversing a longstanding policy, the federal government said on [October 29] that human and other genes should not be eligible for patents because they are part of nature. The new position could have a huge impact on medicine and on the biotechnology industry. The new position was declared in a friend-of-the-court brief filed by the Department of Justice ... in a case involving two human genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer. 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, the brief said. The issue of gene patents has long been a controversial [one]. Opponents say that genes are products of nature, not inventions, and should be the common heritage of mankind. They say that locking up basic genetic information in patents actually impedes medical progress. Proponents say genes isolated from the body are chemicals that are different from those found in the body and therefore are eligible for patents. In its brief, the government said it now believed that the mere isolation of a gene, without further alteration or manipulation, does not change its nature.
Note: This is great news. To see how patents have been used in scary ways to promote global monopolies, watch this documentary.