Friday, June 14, 2013

Nature isn't Patentable!

Quikkie post to ease back into the groove...

Yesterday the Supreme Court unanimously (!) ruled that human genes can't be patented.

Previously some corporation had patented the BRCA1 gene that is used to determine the risk of breast cancer.  No, not the method of determining whether this at risk gene was present, but the very DNA itself.

Sound bizarre?  Good, you are thinking human being. I'm not a patent lawyer, but that seems to me like patenting hunter green (not the name, but the actual light frequency that produces 'hunter green').  I wonder if they could hypothetically sue individuals for creating that gene since it is property of a corporation?

Anyway, this was preventing other companies from developing their own methods of detecting cancer. And its kind of ironic that patents are supposed to encourage competition, but prior to the Supreme Court ruling, such a patent was undeniably stifling competition, essentially creating a de-facto monopoly.

Now the cost of getting tested for risk of breast cancer should drop and more people's lives will be saved.

Yay for such a strong decision by an other wise split court.

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