Surprise: Justice Department Says Isolated Genes Should Not Be Patentable

from the didn't-see-that-coming dept

Well here's a surprise. In the appeal of the ruling from earlier this year that genes are not patentable, the Justice Department has decided to weigh in with an amicus brief, changing the government's longstanding position on gene patents. The government's official position is now that isolated genes should not be patentable, though it does suggest that "manipulated" DNA could be patentable. They basically make the argument that merely isolating a gene isn't an invention, which makes perfect sense. What's interesting is that the Justice Department's position appears to disagree with the USPTO's stated position until now. There must have been a hell of a political fight within the administration to get this through... Anyway, the full filing is after the jump.

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  1. icon
    RikuoAmero (profile), 1 Nov 2010 @ 6:22am

    Re: "...which makes perfect sense..."

    Yeah they do. Viruses are made up of simple strands of DNA or RNA. Granted, there is debate over whether or not viruses are living organisms, and DNA does equal a gene, but you get the idea. What Mike Masnick doesn't like here is the thought that for example, a gene company can isolate a gene for say, red hair, and then be able to legally demand compensation from everyone with red hair. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but should a company claim ownership of the basic building blocks of life itself?

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