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Only modified-gene patents allowed

Only modified-gene patents allowed - Science News and Views

Only modified-gene patents allowed - The latest news and publications from Nature, Science, Cell and other journals. Post science topics and your thoughts here. Anything science related goes here.


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  #1  
Old 11-02-2010, 05:41 PM
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Thumbs down Only modified-gene patents allowed



New ruling over patenting nature like the BRCA1/BRCA2 genes

NY times article ---> [Only registered users see links. ]

and Patents/Biotech blog ---> [Only registered users see links. ]
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Old 11-02-2010, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: Only modified-gene patents allowed

I, for one, welcome this finding. Patents are supposed to protect inventions and processes. Naturally-occurring genes fit into neither category, and patents on those genes should never have been awarded.

Bryan
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Old 11-02-2010, 06:22 PM
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Default Re: Only modified-gene patents allowed

Totally agreed.
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Old 11-04-2010, 04:52 PM
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Cool Re: Only modified-gene patents allowed

Quote:
Originally Posted by danfive View Post
New ruling over patenting nature like the BRCA1/BRCA2 genes

NY times article ---> [Only registered users see links. ]

and Patents/Biotech blog ---> [Only registered users see links. ]
Putting ideal/abstract thinking aside,

Scientists need patent protection for the jump into biotech because investors need that patent as assurance/protection from competition. Most investors are practical here, not monopolistic, they know that the "protection" from competitors will in best case scenario allow them to break-even.

Patent lawyers themselves say that the current legal system isn't set up to handle this kind of technology (based on genes/proteins/epitopes/methods).

I don't know what the best ruling should have been but I feel that modern economies/societies need the biotech industry for the knowledge-based jobs, new growth, and reinforcing-education as a cultural value. Plus, of course, the products and companies that people can invest in.

This ruling only hurts the the biotech industry.
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Old 11-04-2010, 09:26 PM
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Default Re: Only modified-gene patents allowed

Quote:
Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Putting ideal/abstract thinking aside,

Scientists need patent protection for the jump into biotech because investors need that patent as assurance/protection from competition. Most investors are practical here, not monopolistic, they know that the "protection" from competitors will in best case scenario allow them to break-even.
But you can also make the opposite argument - the existence of patents also quashes some potential biotech innovations. If a gene is covered by a patent, and you need that gene for a process you are proposing, it can become a real issue in both licensing costs and in attracting investors who are afraid of potential legal costs. There are several other real-world examples of this. Take the breast-cancer genes "owned" by Myriad which sparked this case. Because myriad "owns" those genes better/cheaper testing methods have failed to make it to market - despite the fact the new tests are based on radically different technology than what myriad uses. That isn't helping innovation; that is hurting it. It used to be that you could patent an improvement to an existing, patented process. Gene patents prevent just that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danfive View Post
I don't know what the best ruling should have been but I feel that modern economies/societies need the biotech industry for the knowledge-based jobs, new growth, and reinforcing-education as a cultural value. Plus, of course, the products
and companies that people can invest in.
And I don't think this ruling will affect us much. Most emerging biotech isn't like the biotech of the past 20 years. We're no longer patenting genes and the tests for mutant forms of them. Instead, we're engineering genes, even whole organisms, to preform specific functions. Because these involve invented (or at least, artificially evolved) genes and organisms, they remain patentable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danfive View Post
This ruling only hurts the the biotech industry.
I disagree. If anything it opens up the door to all of those who have invented improved mutation-detection technology who were unable to commercialise because the major disease alleles of interest were incorrectly allowed to be patented. Keep in mind, this doesn't prevent you from patenting genes you invent, nor does it prevent you from patenting processes which detect naturally-occurring genes. All this ruling does is prevent you from owning naturally-occurring genes.

I'm sure this will hurt a few companies. But it will aid many more.

I'd also point out that the "ideal/abstract thinking" you so readily dismiss is a major issue. A company which owns a gene essentially owns a part of you. Ergo, allowing those patents makes about as much sense as allowing the inventor of appendectomies to patent the appendix. The legal ramifications of that are huge - and largely explored. Simply sequencing your genome violates ~40,000 gene patents (pretty amazing, given that we only have ~20,000 genes). For those us of involved in GWAS this is a serious concern, and has made it hard to find private partners for many GWAS studies (its also why most GWAS are sequenced in China; they were not silly enough to allow the kinds of patenting that expose GWAS to patent violations). It also raises concerns of any commercialisation derived from GWAS studies, both out of concern of identifying patented genes as genes of interest, but also because the GWAS process itself violates pretty much every patented gene in the human genome - i.e. even if your resulting product does not use a single patented gene, you're still in violation of patents.

Bryan
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Old 01-04-2011, 03:06 AM
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Default Re: Only modified-gene patents allowed

That's just what I want to say about it,the genes should be used carefully.
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