While my thoughts on this matter are usually in contrast to most other TechDirt readers out there, I do believe that following research, the PRODUCTS of genes (Proteins) can be/should be patented.
While we have the genetic code deciphered for humans (and many animals) there is far to little research out there pertaining to what these genes do.
If after 3-4 years of research on a gene or gene cluster, a potent protein that can cure a disease is discovered and proven to be a viable therapeutic, I see no reason why it should not be covered by patent laws for a set period of time.
However, to many people and companies (and Universities) started patenting 1,000's of genes, even though they have NO IDEA what they do. If you or I later start researching one of these genes, and its determined that it produces a valuable protein, well, the original patent holder gets all the credit/return. Most of the time you don't even know that the gene is patented.
The notion that it is 'natural' means nothing however - most (vast majority) of pharmaceuticals are natural or naturally derived.
If the software (this or any) collects chatroom/IM data, how can they possible say its anonymous? I mean, sure there may be no identifiable information through the transmission, but people use names, dates, and locations all the time that may be used to identify someone.
Not to mention, IM and Chatrooms used to be all about the txt, but now its just as much about video's and pictures. While one may say its up to you not to put such information on the web, the very audience that the software is targeting (young kids/their parents) indicates users who do not yet know any better.
Finally - Why do companies WANT this information about young kids to target advertisements towards them!?
While I agree that what they are doing (preventing generics from entering the market) sucks for individuals (and the bottom line) - It DOESN'T stifle innovation.
While patents have (got a bit better) been ridiculous with gene patenting (without even knowing what the gene does), what you (Mike) cited concerned preventing generics, not stepping on small start ups.
In fact, there is a HUGE industry for small startups in the pharm industry. Discover some thing new and innovative, patent it, sell to a 'big guy' for development and release, then start over.
"I have always thought that speed limits should be completely abolished, and the police can simply pull people over for reckless/careless driving if things get too excessive."
I REALLY like this idea. At first I thought to myself, 'that would just lead to insane police misconduct and arbitrary enforcement of the law(s', then I realized, that it precisely what we have going on right now anyway
Technically, and correct me if I am wrong, but as an individual I believe you are required to pay sales tax on anything you buy in another state (that you are not a resident of).
So many problems with that statement, I know, but a few years ago NY actually tried going after people who bought clothing in NJ (No Sales Tax in NJ on clothing (at the time)), not sure how all that played out.
More recently they are doing it with cigarettes...
Assuming I understand exactly what SoundScan does (provide information about record sales), then yes, of course it us something they have to really think about (counting the T-Shirt as a sale).
I mean, what if I sold 20,000 pens on ebay, and threw in a copy of my latest 'album' for download... I don't think that makes me a successful musician. Think this is simply an aspect of the industry (Soundscan) catching up with the changes in the market.
At least they are willing to consider the issue.
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