Gene patent joke

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Gene patent joke

Postby bradenpeters » Feb 10 2010 1:44 am

Dialog between a scientist and a biotech company:

Scientist: Hi, can you help me measure the expression of BRCA 1 in my cells?

Biotech Company: Sure, what type of expression assay do you want?

Scientist: A western should work.

Biotech Company: OK, we have the perfect western blot system. That'll be 5000 dollars plus 40 dollars per nucleotide.

Scientist: 40 dollars per nucleotide???

Biotech Company: Haven't you heard the news? We've got the patent on your gene of interest.

Scientist: WHAT????!!! HOW??

Biotech Company: We own that part of the human genome, so we can make you pay for it. Our royalties are $40 per nucleotide. Lets see, there's about 3000 nucleotides in BRCA 1 [THIS IS JUST A ARBITRARY MADE UP NUMBER - DON"T USE IT FOR A PROJECT]. That'll work out to be 120000 dollars.

Scientist: So i pay this then i can forget about this whole gene patent thing?

Biotech Company: Oh, NO. It gets even better for us. We own the gene, so we also own your research. We can take your project and publish it as ours.

Scientist: [leaves the office to continue working at lab, gets western blot equipment from another company]

6 MONTHS LATER

Scientist: [On the phone with the biotech company]

Biotech company: We've received info that you've violated our gene patent.

Scientist: REALLY???

Biotech company: We've talked to our lawyers, and you have a civil court date set on May 3, 2010. You may want to get a lawyer.

Scientist: I don't get it, i just did a little project with a human gene.

Biotech company: You violated our patent rights when you did that, and we're coming to collect our money. By the way, you'll have to pay our legal fees, which are at about 300 000 dollars.

Scientist: OH GREAT!!

THE END

-GENE PATENTS ON HUMAN GENETIC MATERIAL ARE REAL AND UNETHICAL.
-THIS IS A VERY REAL ISSUE, AND THE MORE PEOPLE THAT ARE AWARE OF THE ISSUE, THE MORE PEOPLE THERE ARE TO FIGHT IT.
-HUMAN DNA BELONGS TO EVERYONE, NOT A BIOTECH COMPANY LIKE *COUGH* MYRIAD GENETICS.

ENJOY
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Re: Gene patent joke

Postby relaxin » Feb 16 2010 9:17 pm

I agree that if someone simply take a large number of cDNA clones or genomes and sequence them, he or she should not be allowed to patent them. However, if he/she spent years in studying the function of one cDNA clone or a small genomic fragment and associating it with a disease, then he/she should be able to apply for patent for its use in diagnosis or therapy of the disease. In general, a patent does not have restriction to academic research (at least to my understanding).

If one cannot reap the reward of one's labor, there is no incentive for all the hard work. That is why communism does not work. :D
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Re: Gene patent joke

Postby leekaming » Feb 23 2010 4:54 pm

relaxin wrote:I agree that if someone simply take a large number of cDNA clones or genomes and sequence them, he or she should not be allowed to patent them. However, if he/she spent years in studying the function of one cDNA clone or a small genomic fragment and associating it with a disease, then he/she should be able to apply for patent for its use in diagnosis or therapy of the disease.


I absolutely agree with you,
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Re: Gene patent joke

Postby r.rosati » Feb 23 2010 8:31 pm

I disagree. Patents are for inventions, not for discoveries. If one identifies a cancer-related gene and makes a kit for detection, he/she can patent the kit as new invention, and thus block other from exploiting his research producing similar kits. A gene, discovered and not invented, should never be patenteable.
If I discover a new species of beetle, should I own the patent on any photographs ever taken of a beetle of the same species?
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Re: Gene patent joke

Postby relaxin » Feb 23 2010 9:41 pm

WeirdOmen wrote:If I discover a new species of beetle, should I own the patent on any photographs ever taken of a beetle of the same species?


Oh yeah. You cannot use a similar photograph in a business setting. I still remember that the US Postal Office once used a photograph of marine creature in a postage stamp and got sued. Well, that is copyright, not a patent.

Most drug discoveries from natural sources are patentable. Although the chemical is natural, the discovery for its use in treating a disease is an invention. It seems there is a fine line between discovery and invention.
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Re: Gene patent joke

Postby r.rosati » Feb 24 2010 12:47 pm

relaxin wrote:
WeirdOmen wrote:If I discover a new species of beetle, should I own the patent on any photographs ever taken of a beetle of the same species?


Oh yeah. You cannot use a similar photograph in a business setting. I still remember that the US Postal Office once used a photograph of marine creature in a postage stamp and got sued. Well, that is copyright, not a patent.


I hope you understood my example. You can't patent something just because you're the first one who saw it.

relaxin wrote:Most drug discoveries from natural sources are patentable. Although the chemical is natural, the discovery for its use in treating a disease is an invention. It seems there is a fine line between discovery and invention.


Yes, but you're patenting a chemical which will be directly used in a specific application. Patenting a gene is stretching that line way too much.
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Re: Gene patent joke

Postby relaxin » Feb 24 2010 2:24 pm

WeirdOmen wrote:Yes, but you're patenting a chemical which will be directly used in a specific application. Patenting a gene is stretching that line way too much.


As I understand it, you cannot patent just the gene sequence, but you can patent the use of the gene sequence for the use on anything under the sun. If the Patent Office approves it, I do not see anything wrong with the patent.
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Re: Gene patent joke

Postby Suzanne » Feb 24 2010 3:12 pm

I am not a patent attorney, but my understanding is that it is not the gene that is patented. It is the APPLICATION or the test developed.

So HIV genes are not patented but the use of GP120 as a test for the presence of HIV is.

It is not the cancer gene that is patented but the use of it to clinically diagnose the cancer in a specific assay.

You can perform research with any gene you want.

The biotech or Pharma company's only go after other company's commercializing the patented technology. You can't make money off of someone else's invention.
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Re: Gene patent joke

Postby Suzanne » Feb 24 2010 3:18 pm

Since this is a humor forum, you might enjoy reading this piece about some unusual patents:

http://bitesizebio.com/2009/04/17/never-trust-a-patent/

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Re: Gene patent joke

Postby talkingtree » Mar 23 2010 9:40 am

lol oh no
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Patent on BRCA1 oligos overturned!!!

Postby Myotis_rufopictus » Apr 06 2010 7:55 am

Key cancer patents killed
"If a decision like this were upheld, it would have a pretty significant impact on the future of medicine," Kenneth Chahine, a visiting law professor at the University of Utah, told the New York Times. Chahine filed an amicus brief on the side of Myriad Genetics, which held the patents for the genes in question, BRCA1 and BRCA2.

About 20 percent of human genes have been patented, and currently support billions of dollars worth of industry.


Metastasizing patent claims on BRCA1
Many patents make claims on DNA sequences; some include claims on oligonucleotides related to the primary patented gene. We used bioinformatics to quantify the reach of one such claim from patent 4,747,282 on BRCA1. We find that human chromosome 1 (which does not contain BRCA1) contains over 300,000 oligonucleotides covered by this claim, and that 80% of cDNA and mRNA sequences contributed to GenBank before the patent application was filed also contain at least one claimed oligonucleotide. Any “isolated” DNA molecules that include such 15 bp nucleotide sequences would fall under the claim as granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Anyone making, using, selling, or importing such a molecule for any purpose within the United States would thus be infringing the claim. This claim and others like it turn out, on examination, to be surprisingly broad, and if enforced would have substantial implications for medical practice and scientific research.
Reading about expression of genes "in Planta" makes me think they're doing it in margarine.
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Re: Gene patent joke

Postby mchlbrmn » Apr 06 2010 9:01 pm

If 80% of your DNA falls under this patent, perhaps you shouldn't be twittering away your time here when there are royalties you ought to be paying off(?).
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Re: Gene patent joke

Postby bradenpeters » May 16 2010 11:19 pm

relaxin wrote:I agree that if someone simply take a large number of cDNA clones or genomes and sequence them, he or she should not be allowed to patent them. However, if he/she spent years in studying the function of one cDNA clone or a small genomic fragment and associating it with a disease, then he/she should be able to apply for patent for its use in diagnosis or therapy of the disease. In general, a patent does not have restriction to academic research (at least to my understanding).

If one cannot reap the reward of one's labor, there is no incentive for all the hard work. That is why communism does not work. :D


WRONG!!! If you DEVELOP a TEST OR TREATMENT that uses the gene, you should be able to patent THE TEST OR TREATMENT, not the gene itself. Yes they do interfere with research. We need to stop thinking about medical research as a monetary "investment", instead, we need to think about the real reason we do biomedical research - to develop tests, treatments .etc to benefit the patients with the disease or condition. Bioethics 101: HUMAN GENES BELONG TO EVERYONE< NOT ONE COMPANY OR PERSON, NO MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY THEY HAVE TIED UP IN IT. If they can think about the human factor, they should stop doing research.
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Re: Gene patent joke

Postby sing09 » May 17 2010 1:49 am

I must say that I agree with WeirdOmen and bradenpeters. If Pharma companies hold patents on human genes, or other genes for that matter, this will have a serious impact on the development of drugs for treating diseases because competition will be discouraged. In addition, Pharma companies race against each other for finding more effective drugs faster. This competition is all about finding biomarkers for producing drugs as quickly as possible to compete with the ones already in the pharmacies. However, "more effective" does not mean "better." There are many examples of these race products gone wrong, regardless of FDA approval. For instance, Eli Lilly with Zyprexa. Most Pharma companies are interested in making money fast, so would you feel comfortable if they held patents on all of your genes?
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Re: Gene patent joke

Postby relaxin » May 17 2010 1:47 pm

bradenpeters wrote:WRONG!!! If you DEVELOP a TEST OR TREATMENT that uses the gene, you should be able to patent THE TEST OR TREATMENT, not the gene itself. Yes they do interfere with research. We need to stop thinking about medical research as a monetary "investment", instead, we need to think about the real reason we do biomedical research - to develop tests, treatments .etc to benefit the patients with the disease or condition. Bioethics 101: HUMAN GENES BELONG TO EVERYONE< NOT ONE COMPANY OR PERSON, NO MATTER HOW MUCH MONEY THEY HAVE TIED UP IN IT. If they can think about the human factor, they should stop doing research.


I do not advocate patenting any DNA sequence even though its function is not known. The entire human genome is in public domain, no one will patent it! I am saying that if you can associate a certain sequence with a disease, then patent it, even before any work done on the development of a diagnostic kit. This is to prevent any company stepping in to get fruit of other's labor. This will not affect basic science research.

I heard of a story of a professor from University of Chicago, who discoved the hormone EPO. He showed a partial amino acid sequence of EPO in a scientific meeting just for a few seconds. A company snapped a picture of the slide, cloned the cDNA, patented the sequence and reaped the profit. What did the professor get for his labor of his entire life?

If one cannot patent the sequence, only big pharmaceutical companies will get all the profits. Small guys will hide their discovery until they can find coporate partners to develop any test. This will only harm future research. That is exactly what the "patent" system wants to prevent.
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