U.S. Says Genes Should Not Be Eligible for Patents

NY Times, October 29, 2010
Reversing a longstanding policy, the federal government said on Friday that human and other genes should not be eligible for patents because they are part of nature. The new position could have a huge impact on medicine and on the biotechnology industry.

The new position was declared in a friend-of-the-court brief filed by the Department of Justice late Friday in a case involving two human genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer.

“We acknowledge that this conclusion is contrary to the longstanding practice of the Patent and Trademark Office, as well as the practice of the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies that have in the past sought and obtained patents for isolated genomic DNA,” the brief said.

Brief available <<here>>

…Read More

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Recent Publications – From the UK Intellectual Property Office

Two new publications from the UK IPO–commissioned by the Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy (SABIP) before its dissolution in August (Independent reports from leading academics).

The Flow of Knowledge from the Academic Research Base into the Economy: the Use and Effectiveness of Formal IPRs and “Soft IP” in UK Universities.

Intellectual Property Enforcement in Smaller UK firms.

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Recent Publications

Stanford Journal of Law, Science and Policy: “Stem Cell Patents in a Global Economy: The Legal Challenges” This paper reviews recent developments in the international legal landscape on stem cell patents and compares the fate of one of the early patent applications on stem cells derived from hESCs at leading patent offices around the world.  Parts II and III set out the international and European legal contexts for the case study in Part IV, which reveals considerable international variance in the application of patentability criteria and examining standards. Part V argues that the difficulties attending the drawing of patent boundaries in this emerging field of science suggest that international initiatives to harmonize standards may be premature.  On the other hand, there is an urgent need for major investment in the global infrastructure of patent information systems to adequately support the dissemination of patent data, not only to realize the intended function of the patent system to facilitate disclosure, but also in order to facilitate monitoring and comparative analysis of international patenting trends and their impact on innovation. (Plomer, 2010)

Science: “Sustaining the Data and Bioresource Commons”  Globalization of biomedical research requires sustained investment for databases and biorepositories. (Schofield et al, 2010)

Nature Methods: “Federal Policy and the Use of Pluripotent Cells” Findings suggest that scientists will need incentives to expand the volume and diversity of research using hESCs or iPSCs. (Scott et al., 2010)

Nature: “The long shadow of the stem-cell ruling” Two months on from the court decision that briefly suspended US federal funding for human embryonic stem-cell research, uncertainty still stalks the field. Here an ethicist, a team of bankers and a lawyer warn of effects of this saga that could be felt for years to come. (Moreno; Nolan et al; Taylor, 2010)

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Essential Readings?

If you had to pick one or two absolutely essential readings to prepare for this meeting, which would you recommend?

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This website is designed to both provide briefing material on proprietary challenges in stem cell research and enhance the typical briefing process by facilitating the sharing of thoughts, feedback, and expertise in advance of our plenary meeting and working group sessions.

The briefing material is organized into four sections

Communication: In order for this experiment in social media to work – we need your help! Every page on this website allows for comments (at the bottom of each page).
We would very much like for you help us in enhancing the briefing process by sharing your valuable insights and expertise.

  • Is there anything missing? Any helpful publications/presentations that could be included? Are there any key features that we have overlooked?
  • Are there any errors; areas that would benefit from clarification; improvements that can be made to the content?
  • Most importantly, we would like you to get the conversation started now.  As you read through the material, please share your reflections, comments, and concerns.

Information about all updates to the website will be posted as blog entries under the ‘Home’ tab, so you can quickly locate any changes.  We will also be adding additional briefing materials that are currently under construction, such as the results of our interviews to assess industry perspectives. We will send out an email digest of all comments and changes on October 22nd and 29th.

*Note: This website is private and only accessible by members of this group.

To simplify access, we are using a single username/password for the group, so please identify yourselves in the body of your comments. Feedback can also be emailed to Alan Regenberg.

A printable (pdf) version of the briefing materials is available here (A4 version here), and a packet containing copies of some of these materials (final agenda, maps, participant info, etc.)  will be provided when you register at the conference centre.

As you can see from the participant page, this is a diverse and impressive group.  We are excited about this opportunity to work with all of you on a set of very difficult challenges, and hope that we can use this website to begin that process now.  Thank you in advance for sharing your time and expertise—it is the foundation for our success.

Best Regards,

Debra and Alan

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