Posts Tagged: "Gene Patents"

Conflicting Positions on Gene Patents in Obama Administration

On Monday evening, November 1, 2010, David Kappos, Undersecretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, told the Dow Jones news service: “The USPTO at the present time is maintaining the status quo. We’re continuing with current procedures as they are.” This could set up a contentious and public policy battle between the United States Department of Commerce and the United States Department of Justice. This battle of agency titans — DOJ v. DOC — comes as a result of the Department of Justice filing an amicus brief in The Association of Molecular Pathology v. The United States Patent and Trademark Office, which actually does not take the side of the USPTO, but rather says that what the USPTO is doing is wrong. Thus, in an extremely odd twist the DOJ is supporting the plaintiffs’ against the United States Patent Office.

Department of Justice Seeks to Cripple Biotech Industry and Fundamentally Change Patent Laws

On Friday, October 29, 2010, practically on the eve of a national election that will in all certainty be an enormous rebuke of the Obama Administration and the Democrats’ agenda in general, the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that would destroy the U.S. biotechnology sector. In an astonishing and irresponsible policy shift that directly contradicts the long-standing policy of the United States federal government and a variety of agencies, the Department of Justice is promoting the dialing back of what is considered patentable subject matter and is urging the Federal Circuit to rule that “isolated but otherwise unaltered genomic DNA is not patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.”

News, Notes & Announcements

I am in beautiful San Diego, California today, enjoying the beach and near perfect weather. Last night I spoke at the San Diego Intellectual Property Lawyers Association monthly meeting. The topic was “The Perils and Profits of Patent Blogging: How to stay out of trouble while still being read and still generating clients and connections.” Look for more on that next week when I get back to the office and into full swing. In the meantime, in the latest edition of News, Notes & Announcements, IBM enters the blogosphere with an IP blog, Myriad Genetics files it appeal brief and Patent Docs have some excellent early analysis, UCLA Professor Doug Lichtman interviews Chief Judge Randall Rader and the USPTO will host the 15th Annual Independent Inventors Conference at the end of next week. Two more days out of the Office for me attending, speaking at and reporting live from the USPTO Conference. A busy week no doubt.

JCVI Creates World’s First Genetically Engineered Self-Replicating Synthetic Bacterial

You just couldn’t make this stuff up. A team of humans creates genetically altered and a self-replicating synthetic cell using a computer. I suspect that computer was running some pretty powerful and sophisticated software. So the anti-patent crowd should be sufficiently whipped into a frenzy over this story top to bottom. It hits all the hot button issues, life, genetics, software, ethics and it rolls them all into one. But while we might relish the anguish of those in the anti-patent community, this type of scientific advance should not be taken lightly because it has the potential to fire up those with an anti-patent agenda and could also fire up religious groups as well. The coming together of such strange bedfellows would result in an alliance with enormous political power. So innovators need to pay attention and be vigilant.

Patent Reality Check: The Hypocrisy of Duke University on Patents

There are few things in this world that irritate me more than hypocrisy. Did you know that since 1976 Duke University has had 716 issued US patents, 266 of which in some way, shape or form relate to genetics and 156 of which relate in some way, shape or form relate to both genetics AND cancer. While Duke University throws Myriad Genetics under the bus over its patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes tied to breast and ovarian cancer, Duke has its own patent on identification and sequencing of the BRCA2 cancer susceptibility gene. How convenient!

NEWSFLASH: Duke Researchers Say Patents Block Competition

Last week, on Thursday, April 15, 2010, while many individuals were scrambling at the last minute to file income tax returns in the US, Duke University released a study that, not surprisingly, says patents block competition. WOW! Thank you so much for clearing that up Duke! What would we have ever done without the learned elite at Duke University telling us that patents block competition. Seriously… what was your first clue? For goodness sakes I hope you didn’t take much time or energy coming to that conclusion, given that is exactly what patents are supposed to do. You see, they provide exclusive rights, which means the owner of the right has the ability to exclude. So let’s all breath a sigh of relief that the money spent on an academic study actually reached a conclusion that is true and accurate. Now, if the conclusions drawn from the study were only as commonsensical as the discovery of patents conveying exclusive rights.

Foaming at the Mouth II: My Alternative to the New But Inane Becerra Bill

I do have a suggested alternative on the patenting of gene sequences that is far more sensible (and won’t kill our biotech sector) than the “all or nothing” approach of the new Becerra bill. Instead of banning the patenting of gene sequences, why not provide the U.S. government with something similar to the “march-in-rights” provision that currently exists in Bayh-Dole for patented technology developed through federally-sponsored research that is underutilized? Admittedly, this “march-in-rights” provision would have to be carefully structured so it isn’t abused by the federal government, as well as those who would push for its too frequent use because they feel “entitled.”

Hakuna Matada, the ACLU Gene Patent Victory Will Be Short Lived

It will likely come as a surprise to many, but I really don’t think the ACLU victory in the Myriad Genetics litigation is a big deal. Hakuna Matada is what I say. It’s actually a wonderful phrase. It means no worries for the rest of your days, and is a problem-free philosophy… blah blah blah… Picture begins to wiggle out of focus and fades to black in three… two… one… You are about to begin a journey through space and time, into another dimension. On this odyessy into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of the surreal, the vastness of the timeless infinity forms a middle ground between light and dark, between science and superstition, and it lies at the heart of humanity’s fears and the pinnacle of understanding. You are about to enter the Twilight Zone…

Honorable Mention: Gene Therapy Double Helix Health Care

Inventors Digest held a youth innovation essay contest, in part to celebrate National Inventors Month, last August. The four winning essays are at InventorsDigest.com. The magazine received and reviewed some 400 essays from across the country. Inventors Digest, in cooperation with IPWatchdog, is showcasing several essays deserving of honorable mention. This is the second Honorable Mention Essay. The first was…

ACLU Should Be Hit With Rule 11 Sanctions

In the ACLU v. Myriad case, the ACLU has alleged that the patents involved in the case cover genes found in nature. This statement is so patently (pun intended) false, that the ACLU either purposely deceived the court or is guilty of gross negligence about the facts plead in the case. As Gene points out in his post, Fired up:…

Call to Action: Amici Briefs in ACLU Gene Patent Challenge

Recently I received an e-mail with a link alerting me to something posted on the 271 blog relating to Bilski. The video (viewable on the 271 blog) is taken from a movie about World War II that focuses at least in part on Adolph Hitler. The video posted is from a scene that appears to be taking place in Hitler’s…

Fired Up: Challenging the Constitutionality of the Patent Act

The Plaintiffs allege that because human genes should not be patented.  Hardly something that anyone can argue.  The only trouble is that this is not what the US Patent Office allows, and it is not what Myriad Genetics has been granted a patent on.  Nevertheless, the frivolous ACLU lawsuit that seeks to use the US Constitution to declare patent claims…

District Court Rules ACLU Gene Patent Challenge May Proceed

In perhaps the worst opinion I have ever read from any federal court, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled earlier today that the ACLU challenge against the Myriad Genetics patents and the United States Patent and Trademark Office for issuing patents can proceed. Procedurally the posture was a Motion to Dismiss, which are…

Quinn and Koepsell Discuss Gene Patents on GritTV

Last Monday, October 26, 2009, I had the opportunity to discuss gene patents on GritTV with host Laura Flanders. I appeared on the show via Skype video along with David Koepsell, the author of Who Owns You? , who was in the studio. I was supposed to be in New York City with David to debate him at Cardozo Law…

Minority Report: Task Force on IP & Genetic Testing

Yesterday, the Task Force on IP and Genetic Testing submitted its Final Draft Report (titled Final Draft Report on Gene Patents and Licensing Practices and Their Impact on Patient Access to Genetic Tests) to the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, and Society (SACGHS). SACGHS, in turn, voted to accept the recommendations, which will be passed on to Secretary Sebelius,…