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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A Chinese baby was born by a surrogate mother four years after his parents were killed in a car accident.

Parents Shen Jie and Liu Xi froze several embryos with the intent of having a child through in vitro fertilization (IVF) in...

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Saginaw attorney Philip Ellison has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of nine parents whose infants' blood was taken and tested without their consent.

Newborn screening is a public health program required by state law.   It uses tiny samples of...

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The home page of the Minnesota biotech company Recombinetics shouts “The Gene Editing Revolution Is Here.” 

Or it would be, if only...

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