Friday, May 22, 2009

How absurd is this; A patent on a human gene?


A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to an inventor or his assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for a disclosure of an invention.

The procedure for granting patents, the requirements placed on the patentee and the extent of the exclusive rights vary widely between countries according to national laws and international agreements. Typically, however, a patent application must include one or more claims defining the invention which must be new, inventive, and useful or industrially applicable. In many countries, certain subject areas are excluded from patents, such as business methods and mental acts. The exclusive right granted to a patentee in most countries is the right to prevent others from making, using, selling, or distributing the patented invention without permission.

How absurd is this; A patent on a human gene? I believe the patent law is way out of line. You would not believe what has been patented, from seeds, conventional plant varieties and ANIMAL SPECIES to herbs, spices, oils and sugarcane, they never got around to PATENTING marijuana for entertainment or medicinal purposes, they just outlawed that altogether. It wouldn't surprise me that sometime in the future the air we breathe will have a patent owned by some corporation who can thus charge a fee for BREATHING. I've got a good idea, why don't some big corporation take out a patent on GREED, they would own the whole GD world if they could do that. Please watch the video and sign a message of support to stop BIG PHARMA from taking patents out on human genes. thinkingblue.

There is something fundamentally wrong with companies being able to own the rights to pieces of the human genome. Yet more than 20% of the human genetic code has been patented.

Last Tuesday, the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT)
filed a groundbreaking lawsuit charging that patents on two human
genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) associated with breast and ovarian cancer
are unconstitutional and invalid. These two genes, the patents on
which are controlled by Myriad Genetics, a private biotechnology
company based in Utah, are responsible for most cases of
hereditary breast and ovarian cancers.

For the past 20 years, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has
been issuing patents on human genes -- the segments of DNA that
we all have in our cells -- giving private corporations,
individuals, and universities the exclusive rights to those
genetic sequences, their usage, and their chemical composition.
There is something fundamentally wrong with companies being able
to own the rights to pieces of the human genome.

This raises serious civil liberties concerns because the
government is essentially giving patent holders a monopoly over
these genes and all the information contained within them. Patent
holders have the right to prevent anyone else from testing,
studying, or even looking at the genes. The ACLU believes this is
a gross violation of First Amendment rights: individuals’
rights to know about their own genetic makeup, doctors’
rights to provide their patients with crucial medical
information, and scientists’ rights to study the human
genome and develop new treatments and genetic tests.

As a result of the U.S. Patent Office granting patents on the
BRCA genes to Myriad Genetics, Myriad's lab is the only place in
the country where diagnostic testing can be performed. And,
because only Myriad can test for the BRCA gene mutations, others
are prevented from testing these genes or developing alternative tests.

Myriad's monopoly on the BRCA genes also makes it impossible for
women to access other tests or get a second opinion about their
results and allows Myriad to charge a high rate for their tests
-- over $3,000, which is too expensive for many women to afford.

"Patents are meant to protect inventions, not things that
exist in nature like genes in the human body," said Chris
Hansen, a staff attorney with the ACLU. "Genes isolated from
the human body are no more patentable than gold extracted from a mountain."

Learn more about the case and the plaintiffs.

Watch the video and learn why it is important that we stop the
government from allowing companies like Myriad to own our genes.

Take Action: Sign a message of support.


Crazy Patents! For the USPTO to issue a patent, the invention must be novel, non-obvious, and "useful." The standard for usefulness is certainly the weakest of the three -- any possible utility, no matter how small, will suffice. And, useful does not necessarily mean commercially viable. In other words, you can get a patent on some crazy things that will never make it to the shelves of your local store. (But at least these patents aren't on pieces of your body! TB)

For instance:

Click Here

Click Here

Patents in a genetic age

Debate continues over whether DNA sequences can be claimed to be part of an invention.

In helping to develop many discoveries into clinically useful
products, the patent system has been a force for good. It has
encouraged innovation and sensible risk taking, stimulated
investment in research and development, and delivered drugs and
devices that have changed the face of modern medicine.

But can the patent system maintain this positive influence in the
future? As we stand on the brink of one of biomedical science's
greatest achievements — the complete sequencing of the human
genome — this question becomes extremely pertinent. The
issue of how and when to assign patent rights to all manner of
DNA sequences threatens to throw the patent system into disarray.

The patenting system should help people to channel their energy
towards inventions of genuine therapeutic or diagnostic value and
discourage the frenetic cataloguing of DNA sequences that are a
long way from being a final, useful product. But as it stands,
the system is in danger of not fulfilling these functions. It can
be slow, and prohibitively expensive to navigate. Moreover,
patenting is increasingly being seen by some as rewarding luck
rather than enterprise. More here

Let's keep our heads, while we continue to watch THE



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