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Study About IP On The Human Genome Shows That Patents Hindered Innovation (techdirt.com)
54 points by yanw on July 28, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 6 comments

I guess that's not surprising. It's more surprising to me that anyone allowed patenting of the human genome in the first place. How someone could equate "sequencing" with "inventing" boggles my mind. There are billions of examples of prior art walking around among us, for crying out loud! It's as if whoever "rediscovered" cuneiform writing should have been able to patent it...

It's utterly disgusting.

The only thing you can't patent is a live human being or a mental process. Everything else is fair game.

There has been an enormous row over for instance the patenting of basmati rice, a staple food in many countries.


The patents are for the use of these molecules as drugs in order to treat a disease. That is a very non-obvious and inventive process to figure out which of the 25000 genes in the human body will be useful as a drug - and what the exact composition of that drug should be and how to make it, administer it, etc.

I don't believe genome patents require you to show how you've invented a process to use the genome- only the string of letters on a piece of ticker tape.

I haven't read the actual study - just the presentation in this link.

However, I would be REALLY hesitant to conclude anything from this other than Celera chose uninteresting things to make patent applications on. The "outcome" for innovation in this study was whether or not a gene test exists, and that is not what Celera was trying to get IP on. They were trying to find drugs or drug targets - and that is a difficult process.

The fraction of good drug targets in the human genome compared to the total number of genes is very, very small.

The fraction of good drug targets in the human genome compared to the total number of genes is probably astronomical, but to think that a single gene is going to give you much information is laughable. The number of proteins involved in any given disorder or disease is far too large.

Which, incidentally, is why you shouldn't be able to patent testing for single genes, since that is the most rudimentary example of what genetic testing has to offer.

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