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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Gene patents attacked

DENISE CARUSO enters the lists on biotech patents for genes (NY Times link here), questioning the whole set of legalisms that have built up around them. Unlike product patents which can be improved on, "there is no analog to this network of obligations for a patent holder. As Tim Hubbard, a Human Genome Project researcher, noted at a 2001 conference: 'If you have a patent on a mousetrap, rivals can still make a better mousetrap. This isn't true in the case of genomics. If someone patents a gene, they have a real monopoly.'"

“This monopoly gives patent holders total control over patented genetic materials for any use whatsoever whether for basic research, a diagnostic test, as a test for the efficacy of a drug or the production of therapies.”

Several examples are cited in the article to suggest how against the public interest these patents can be.

In one case cited, "Patient groups filed suit in 2000, contending misappropriation of trade secrets by using their children's DNA without consent to obtain a patent. It took until 2003 for the parties to reach a confidential settlement; it allows certain laboratories to continue collecting royalties but lets institutions, doctors and scientists use the patented gene sequences without paying."

Dismal story. Read the rest.


Comments

Parade Magazine had a similar blurb a while back which I covered on my blog:

Link

Scary stuff...


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