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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Next month, researchers, policymakers, ethicists and social scientists will meet in Hong Kong for the second International Summit on Human Gene Editing.

Since the first summit, held in Washington DC nearly three years ago, researchers have continued to apply the...

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Officials at Stanford University have opened an investigation into what several high-profile faculty members knew about a Chinese effort to create gene-edited babies led by a onetime researcher at the California school, He Jiankui.

The investigation, according to people familiar...

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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...

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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Brown judge's gavel lying on a white background.

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Large, empty wooden court room. 4 columns are across the wall behind the stand.

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