Check out the Oct 29 NY Times article, "U.S. Says Genes Should Not Be Eligible for Patents"

There are important decisions being made about gene patenting that will impact how we move forward with genetic research and clinical medicine.

Excerpt from the article by Andrew Pollack

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/30/business/30drug.html?_r=1&ref=science

“The issue of gene patents has long been a controversial and emotional 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.

The Patent and Trademark Office has sided with the proponents and has issued thousands of patents on genes of various organisms, including on an estimated 20 percent of human genes.

But 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.”

The article references the following brief, which can be accessed at: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/business/genepatents-USamicusbrief.pdf

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of
New York, in case no. 09-CV-4515, Senior Judge Robert W. Sweet
BRIEF FOR THE UNITED STATES AS AMICUS CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF NEITHER PARTY
Submitted by:
TONY WEST
Assistant Attorney General
BETH S. BRINKMANN
Deputy Assistant Attorney General
SCOTT R. MCINTOSH
s/ Mark R. Freeman
The conclusion in the brief states “For the foregoing reasons, the Court should reverse the districts court’s invalidation of the composition claims that are limited to cDNAs and similar man-made constructs, but affirm the district court’s conclusion that the claims encompassing isolated human genomic DNA are invalid.”
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