Patent Office May Raise the Bar on Gene Claims

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Science  18 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5456, pp. 1196-1197
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5456.1196

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In a major shift, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has proposed a policy that will raise the bar for patent applications on DNA--a change that could lead to the rejection of many claims that have been stalled because of enduring questions over exactly what can be patented. Although the proposed change is welcomed by many in the research community, some, including top scientists at the National Institutes of Health, argue that it still does not go far enough. Unless the PTO tightens its rules further, they warn, research and innovation could be stifled by a quagmire of overlapping rights and claims.