Technology

Feb 22, 2013

The fight to ‘own’ DNA: the case against patents for genes

The Federal Court has ruled it is legal for anyone to patent genes, provided they are "isolated". There's worrying consequences for healthcare, diagnostic practice and the the future of research, writes Anna George

A recent Federal Court case has determined it is legal for anyone — companies, hedge funds, individuals or institutions — to patent isolated gene sequences. The case specifically focused on the BRCA1 breast and ovarian cancer gene sequence. But the decision has implications for the patentability of all genetic resources in Australia.

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2 thoughts on “The fight to ‘own’ DNA: the case against patents for genes

  1. Tim

    Good to see the other side of the argument put forward. It’s a bit of a cross post but we (Civil Liberties Australia ) have been running a campaign on this with other organisations.
    We wrote about the gene patents case last year http://newmatilda.com/2012/07/05/you-are-not-drug

    and have a lot more info on our ongoing campaign here: https://www.facebook.com/freegenes

    There is a Private Members Bill currently in the Labor caucus to ban gene patents.

  2. Dogs breakfast

    Universities have the most to gain by NOT locking up genes with patents, so I’m surprised that they argued the obverse. I suspect it was a smaller but powerful cabal from the ‘elite’ universities that took this line.

    But whatever else, it should come back to the basic principal that should be the essence of the law, that being that you can only patent what you have created, not what you found.

    The legal ruminations just bring discredit on that august body, the Law.

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