I have changes but no git access #1

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uberj opened this Issue Nov 8, 2012 · 0 comments

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uberj commented Nov 8, 2012

Jacques Uber
BB 331
11/8/2012
Genetic Patents

Introduction
• What is a patent?
◦ “The U.S. Patent Act, passed in 1790, defined a patentable invention as novel, useful, and non-obvious to an expert in the field.” [1]
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/04/03/are-dna-patents-doomed/ [1]
• Patents are important because they protect the initial investment of resources an inventor makes.
• Genetic information can be used to, research, test and cure cancer. Patents that regulate the widespread use of useful genetic information will impede on science's ability to leverage genetic information during cancer research and treatment.

Patenting DNA
• What can you patent?
◦ “According to a new appeals court ruling, yes [a gene can be patented] — even when that gene is an isolated version of a gene that occurs in nature.” Courts also say that you can't patent the process. [2]
◦ [2] http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/17/news/la-heb-myriad-breast-cancer-patent-q-a-20120817
• What can't you patent?
◦ “The court decided that actions such as "comparing" and "analyzing" by themselves are abstract mental processes of the type that are not eligible for patenting.” [3]
◦ “This is part of a larger legal trend, including the Supreme Court's decision in Mayo, of imposing stricter requirements on patent claims that include purely mental processes.” [3]
◦ [3] http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/193720/Patent/DNA+Can+Be+Patented+but+DNA+Analysis+Cannot+The+Courts+Finally+Provide+Clarity+in+Association+for+Molecular+Pathology+v+Myriad+Genetics+Inc

The Cost of BRCA tests.
• Myriads owns exclusive rights for the BRCA tests. After loosing a court battle on the extent of their BRCA patents, Myriad raised the cost of their test by several hundred dollars [8].
◦ Could they have raised that cost of the test if they didn't own the exclusive rights to these patents? Myriad has a monopoly on the use of the BRCA tests and can charge whatever price they want for administering the test.
◦ [8] http://www.genomicslawreport.com/index.php/2011/03/01/how-will-myriad-respond-to-the-next-generation-of-brca-testing/
• The cost of Myriads BRCA test is around $3000 [9].
◦ [9] http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/25/business/despite-gene-patent-victory-myriad-genetics-faces-challenges.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
◦ Oxford University is proposing to sequence an entire genome for under $1000 [10]
◦ [10] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-17/oxford-nanopore-plans-portable-gene-sequencing-device.html
◦ Myriad is only sequencing part of your genome while oxford is doing the whole thing for less. Myriad is obviously overcharging.

The status of patenting Genes and DNA
• An entire database filled with patented DNA.
◦ “This database serves as a resource for policy makers and members of the general public interested in fields like genomics, genetics and biotechnology.” http://dnapatents.georgetown.edu/
• Myraid Gentics “prohibited others from using the technology to provide diagnostic testing”. [3]
◦ If a gene becomes useful (it is shown to cause cancer or even prevent cancer) and it is patented, the company holding the patent can do what Myriad is doing.

Patent trolling
• Buy IP from a company, use that IP to sue other companies.

Patent trolling in Software
• Software is just a series of zeros and ones and is analogous to the 4 base pairs that make up a gene.
• Patent trolls hurt new companies that look to be innovative with the software they write.
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120915/01425620391/patent-trolls-causing-serious-problems-startups.shtml [6]
• Google buys Motorola, sues Apple over mobile patents [7]
◦ This hurts society because the best solution to a problem (while it may be naturally obvious) can be patented and with held from consumers.
• [7] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903392904576509953821437960.html

Patent trolling Genetics Patents
• Australian company GTG is already contracting with bio-tech companies to go after other companies for copyright infringement.
• “Melbourne-based GTG has already amassed millions of dollars' worth of licensing deals from drug companies”. They use these licenses to claim IP and use that IP in court to sue people [5]
◦ This hurts society because people will not have access to treatments that are 'owned' by someone else.
http://www.lifescientist.com.au/article/435210/gtg_launches_new_patent_infringement_suit/ [5]

More trolling: Alzheimer's Institute of America (AIA)
• AIA bought a 1995 patent from Michael Mullan that covered a gene sequence known as the 'Swedish Gene'. The gene is used to cause early onset Alzheimers in lab mice which then can be used as a model to study the disease.
• In 2012 AIA filed suit against Jackson Laboratory and others on the grounds that they are improperly profiting from the patent they own.
◦ A lot of scientific resources (money) will need to be allocated to fight this lawsuit, resources that could be used to further research Alzheimers.
◦ If AIA wins the suite and stop labs from using the gene, any progress that would have been enabled by the gene carrying mice would be lost.
• [11] http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110405/full/472020a.html

Conclusion:
• The consequences of patenting genetic information.
◦ A company can hold an exclusive right to that information.
▪ It's their choice at what price science and society must pay to access to it.
◦ There is already a lot of genetic information that is patented.
▪ In the future new patent trolls may be able to exploit these patents like they are doing in the cases of AIA and GTG.

@uberj uberj closed this Dec 3, 2012

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