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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You probably wouldn’t hand out your social security number without having a pretty good idea of how that information was going to be used, right? That would be dumb. It’s extremely sensitive information. And yet, the consumer genetic testing market ...

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The anarchist grew animated as he explained his plan to subvert a pillar of global capitalism by teaching the poor to make their own medicines — pharmaceutical industry patents be damned.

Then he took another sip from a flute of...

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A thriller about cloning, gene editing, and bioengineering is the perfect show for our times.

You don’t usually see TV shows...

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Bringing genetics into medicine leads to more accuracy, better diagnosis and personalised treatment – but not for all. Carrie Arnold meets

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A strand of DNA is featured. The upper right corner is highlighted.

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Three cotton swabs lay inside of a DNA testing kit.

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A female scientist looks closely at a dye marker on agarose gel used to separate DNA

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