Book Review: Gene Patents and Collaborative Licensing Models: Patent Pools, Clearinghouses, Open Source Models and Liability Regimes (Ed. Geertrui Van Overwalle)
2 IP Law Book Review 1 (2011)
8 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2014 Last revised: 28 Mar 2017
Date Written: February 1, 2011
A review of Gene Patents and Collaborative Licensing Models: Patent Pools, Clearinghouses, Open Source Models and Liability Regimes.
The typically esoteric world of patents has recently been thrust into the headlines as cases involving patented genes have received an unprecedented amount of press. For decades, academics, scientists, practicing attorneys, and legislators have vigorously debated the merits of granting patents on genes and medical diagnostic procedures. Only recently, however, have the courts entered the fray. For example, in March 2010, Judge Sweet of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York handed down a ruling that invalidated a number of patents covering the BRCA genes that signal an increased likelihood of developing breast cancer. Judge Sweet’s ruling held that the patent claims on the BRCA genes were directed to unpatentable “product of nature.” A few months later in a separate case, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, following a grant-vacate-remand from the Supreme Court, upheld the validity of a patented method for determining a proper drug dosage level based on a patient’s metabolite levels. The courts’ entrance into the debate surrounding patenting of human genetic material and medical diagnostics has elicited interest from the full spectrum of public news outlets: from the New York Times to Nature magazine. It would seem that one, or perhaps both, of these cases will be heard at the Supreme Court. In any case, the contentiousness surrounding gene patenting and diagnostic patenting is unlikely to subside any time soon.
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