If the university has a patent as a result of its researcher's work, and the pharma co needs that patent to commercialize, then as part of the licensing agreement, the university could include a provision requiring the pharma co to sell drugs to developing countries at a discount. This is one way patent protection could be used to benefit a third party. Universities would have to put their money where there mouth is, though, because, undoubtedly, they would make less money from the patent license if such a provision were included.
As you do in most things anti-patent, you run with the commentary found on other sites without further analysis. This is in complete contrast to your approach with any commentary you find that is pro-patent. In those situations, you delve into the argument and find the inconsistencies. Why the situational blind eye? If you were to read the patents mentioned, you would find they are directed to crystals of ribosomes, ways of making those crystals, and methods of using molecular models derived from those crystals in drug discovery. Hardly a patent on ribosomes themselves, which do not exist as crystals but for human intervention.
If noone had cut grass before by any method, then the cut grass would be novel. Youd have to distinguish over all possible methods of cutting grass, manual mowers, sicles, cows and goats, etc. Not sure how you could do that. But if you could establish that the cut grass is new, has utility (another hurdle for your hypo) and that it is not obvious to create cut grass (by any method, not just the method you used) then you could get the claim.
No, they figured out the sequence of the protein and the nucleic acid that encodes that protein and then isolated that nucleic acid sequence from the zillions in the genome. Then they claimed only the product of that work, the isolated nucleic acid.
From the NYT:
The companies successfully argued that they had done something that made the genes more than nature’s work: they had isolated and purified the DNA, and thus had patented something they had created — even though it corresponded to the sequence of an actual gene.
Why should I read the NYT's spin on what the patent covers when I can read the patent itself? The primary source prevails. If the NYT says they have claimed the "gene" without qualifying in what form it is claimed, they are being incomplete or, at worst, misleading for the sake of the story. Hard to believe a news outlet would do that...
If it had never been isolated, you could claim it in its isolated form as it would be novel and allegedly useful. Then the issue would be whether it was obvious to isolate O2. You cant claim it in any form that would include its natural state.
They patented something that did not exist in nature. Take a look at a claim:
1. An isolated DNA coding for a BRCA1 polypeptide, said polypeptide having the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO:2.
They are claiming a molecule, DNA, that is isolated (ie, not in its natural source cell, human, or any other creature) that codes for a certain protein.
That never existed until these inventors went and searched through all the genetic information, figured out what part coded for the peptide they wanted, and then pulled that gene out of the morass and stuck it in a test tube. That is all they have claimed. The claimed object is a product of human inquiry, ingenuity and hard work, not nature. Since when did nature take the gene for BRCA1 and isolate it from all other sequences and offer it for human use? They cant claim it as it existed in nature, but they can claim it in its state transformed by human activity.
If you say this case is about patenting that which is in nature, you are wrong. You don't get the issue. You are free to keep saying it, but you have revealed yourself as one not in command of the issues, allowing the rest of us to treat you accordingly.
This is the same issue as any pharmaceutical patent. $$$$$. That is all. If you pay, you get it. If you dont, you dont. The price is inflated due to the patent. So, we have the policy issue of whether life saving medicine should be subject to patent. That is the discussion point. The gene issue is a distraction, it gets people riled and supportive of the cause because they dont understand it and are frightened.
If, as Blonder believes, patents dont provide a sustainable competitive advantage, then they are not stifling innovation. You can't have it both ways.
If they do provide such an advantage, then they might be stifling innovation. Then the existence of patents represents our choice that we favor some advantage to the innovator, at the expense of some innovation in the technical area of the innovation, but only for a set time period (the life of the patent). That may be the correct choice, or it may not, but that is the debate.
To deny that patents provide an advantage is to also assert that they are harmless to competitors. I don't think anyone is saying that and meaning it. The focus of the debate should be on whether the advantage provided by patents is offset by their inherently anti-competitive effect.
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