Policy ForumIntellectual Property

Patents on Human Genes: An Analysis of Scope and Claims

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Science  11 Mar 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5715, pp. 1566-1567
DOI: 10.1126/science.1105162

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There is significant domestic and international opposition to gene patents based on the fact that gene patents deter medical research and health care, as well as the policy position that genes are an inherent product of nature. Yet, equally troubling is the fact that gene patents have been issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that are problematic with respect to existing federal patent law. The authors of this Policy Forum describe their study, which examined issued gene patents covering a variety of genetic diseases and described ways in which many claims fell short of USPTO patentability requirements.