Patents Now Getting In The Way Of Important Brain Research
from the promoting-the-progress dept
Slashdot points us to yet another in a very long line of stories about patents holding back key, potentially life-saving, research. This story involves a biotech firm, StemCells, that is making a legal threat to a hospital doing research on brain diseases in children. Because of the threats, the research has been shut down for three years:
With his research stymied, “all the money has shifted from the lab to the lawyers,” said Schwartz, who said he believes the cells may hold deep secrets to such devastating conditions as autism, brain cancer and neurological disease.
What’s really annoying here is that the doctor doing this research at the hospital had developed the technique himself with some others at the Salk Institute, but they chose not to patent it (perhaps following in the footsteps of Jonas Salk himself, who when asked about patenting the polio vaccine replied: “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”). Of course, StemCells jumped in and patented the technique themselves, and then went after the doctor in the midst of his research.
Apparently, “promoting the progress” doesn’t include saving kids from deadly brain diseases.