Genome research: fulfilling the public's expectations for knowledge and commercialization

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Science  14 Aug 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5072, pp. 908-914
DOI: 10.1126/science.1502557


This article provides a historical perspective for the patenting of gene sequences and describes the fundamentals and evolution of patent law. It summarizes federal technology transfer law and policy and assesses the impacts of patenting on academic research. The patentability of gene sequences is then considered along with potential impacts that published sequence data may have on obtaining patent protection for downstream products. Industry's position on gene patenting is summarized and perspectives from the emerging public record on these issues are presented. The article discussing points at which the filing of patent applications and the licensing of patents may be appropriate. It concludes that technology transfer policies for genome research must be adopted carefully so that they remain viable in a time of rapid technological change.