Editorial – Afederal judge in New York this week invalidated controversial patents on two human genes. At issue were genetic sequences known as BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 that could be used to gauge a woman’s susceptibility to certain types of breast and ovarian cancer. The patents, held by Myriad Genetics, gave the company a virtual monopoly on tests based on those genes. U.S. District Judge Robert W. Sweet ruled that the sequences were products of nature and that Myriad’s work to isolate them did not transform them into new, patentable products. In short, Myriad had, at best, discovered something, not invented it.
The Constitution gives Congress the power to grant patents for the sake of scientific progress. There’s a balancing test inherent in that power. more> http://bwbx.io/vRBd
By Dennis Crouch – The currently pending patent reform bill (S.515) would severely weaken the cause of action. In a recent press release, the Public Patent Foundation (PubPat) has argued that the statute “would eliminate an important method of protecting the public from false and deceitful statements.”
The false patent marking law imposes a fine on companies that label unpatented products as patented “for the purpose of deceiving the public.” Currently, the law allows any citizen to sue false markers on behalf of the federal government and any fine awarded by the court is split between the citizen who brought the case and the government. more> http://bwbx.io/p5pQ
By Guy Burgess – The Select Committee examining the proposed Patents Bill has recommended that software patents be excluded from patentabilty (full report, 1.6MB PDF)
The actual proposed amendment implementing the ban is straightforward:
15(3A) A computer program is not a patentable invention.
The committee has not attempted to define “computer program”, which is sensible and consistent with the use of that term in the Copyright Act 1994. The amendment is not wide enough that it will necessarily prevent someone attempting to dress up what would otherwise be a software patent application as a business method patent. But it will be highly effective in most cases, and should prevent the worst examples of software patents granted (or threatened) overseas from being replicated in New Zealand (e.g. 1-click). more> http://bwbx.io/HlaK
MOVIE: Flash of Genius
Robert Kearns takes on the Detroit automakers who he claims stole his idea for the intermittent windshield wiper… VIDEO
Posted in VIDEO
By John Schwartz and Andrew Pollack – United States District Court Judge Robert W. Sweet ruled that the patents were “improperly granted” because they involved a “law of nature.” He said that many critics of gene patents considered the idea that isolating a gene made it patentable “a ‘lawyer’s trick’ that circumvents the prohibition on the direct patenting of the DNA in our bodies but which, in practice, reaches the same result.”
The case could have far-reaching implications. About 20 percent of human genes have been patented, and multibillion-dollar industries have been built atop the intellectual property rights that the patents grant. more> http://bwbx.io/D0SO