Patient Advocacy Group Collaboration in Genetic Research and the Scope of 'Joint Inventorship' Under U.S. Patent Law
International Journal of Intellectual Property Management, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 97-109, 2009
13 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2009 Last revised: 28 Feb 2018
Date Written: April 27, 2007
Patent systems have traditionally operated to reward scientific innovation and discovery rather than the level and type of contribution of raw materials and other support. As U.S. and international patient advocacy groups continue to launch efforts to organize patients, collect and bank genetic material, and interface with researchers to find cures for diseases, there is need for critical examination of the scope of inventorship as constructed both in the U.S. patent law and abroad. In recently naming a non-scientist advocate a co-inventor on a patent covering a disease gene, the United States Patent & Trademark Office has determined that collaboration with researchers in providing banked genetic samples and participating in the laboratory rises to the level of inventorship. This article will review case law and U.S. patent law and discuss recent patient advocacy collaborative efforts. It will conclude with some considerations for fostering continued collaborative efforts in genetics research.
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