DNA as Patentable Subject Matter and a Narrow Framework for Addressing the Perceived Problems Caused by Gene Patents
Schilling, Stephen H
Duke law journal 2011 Dec; 61(3): 731-73
Concerns about the alleged harmful effects of gene patents--including hindered research and innovation and impeded patient access to high-quality genetic diagnostic tests--have resulted in overreactions from the public and throughout the legal profession. These overreactions are exemplified by Association for Molecular Pathology v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a 2010 case in the Southern District of New York that held that isolated DNA is unpatentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The problem with these responses is that they fail to adequately consider the role that gene patents and patents on similar biomolecules play in facilitating investment in the costly and risky developmental processes required to transform the underlying inventions into marketable products. Accordingly, a more precisely refined solution is advisable. This Note proposes a narrowly tailored set of solutions to address the concerns about gene patents without destroying the incentives for companies to create and commercialize inventions derived from these and similar patents.
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