Patents & Other IP

Patents, along with laws and court decisions regarding intellectual property, serve both to constrain and catalyze the development, marketing, and use of human biotechnologies. Two developments in 1980 dramatically influenced the development of biotechnology in general: the U.S. Congress passed the Bayh-Dole Act, which reformed how inventions developed from federally-funded research are managed, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Diamond v. Chakrabarty that living things, including genes, could be patented. More recently, controversies and court cases about intellectual property have included lawsuits by individuals and families contesting ownership of biological tissues and genetic information; challenges by indigenous communities trying to protect traditional knowledge from technological exploitation; disputes about which researchers will be awarded patents on CRISPR gene editing technology; and the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, which ruled that merely isolating genes that are found in nature does not make them patentable.

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Citing the tremendous cost of new drugs, an international group of biohackers say they are creating a knockoff of a million-dollar gene therapy.

The drug being copied is Glybera, a gene therapy that was the world’s most expensive drug when...

Biopolitical Times

Editors note: This article was originally published on ourbodiesourselves.org and is reposted here with generous permission from Our Bodies Our Selves.

Six years ago, on June 13, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court in AMP v. Myriad took a great step forward for women’s health by unanimously ruling that human genes could not be patented. Now a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives have released a bill that would allow companies to own our genes once again.

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Scientists quickly condemned the Chinese researcher who altered the DNA of at least two embryos to create the world’s first genetically edited...

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A Chinese researcher recently disrupted the CCR5 gene, which builds a protein that acts as an entryway that HIV uses...

image of a white man with curly grey hair

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an illustration of scientists doing construction on a double helix

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Biopolitical Times
Biopolitical Times
Stanford University campus, and edifice with three archways

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Two pairs of scissors cutting a strand of DNA

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A strand of DNA and a computer animated child's face in profile with white skin and blonde hair

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US patent seal

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