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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AFTER THREE BITTER years and tens of millions of dollars in legal fees, the epic battle over who owns one of the most common methods for editing the DNA in any living thing is finally drawing to a close. On Monday,...

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Here’s a double-negative brain twister with potentially huge financial ramifications and a Nobel Prize resting on the answer: For an invention to be “nonobvious”—and therefore patentable in the United States—should there be no guarantee of success when researchers embark on...

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

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Arizona has become the first state in the country to pass a law that would allow frozen embryos to be...