“Just because he used the acronym LOL in a text message and on Twitter doesn’t make him evil; it makes him a young person who sends text messages and uses Twitter. He is evil because he allegedly helped bomb the Boston Marathon” (more…)
Are human genes patentable? At the beginning of this week, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) heard arguments to answer just that question. Specifically, the biotechnology company Myriad Genetics, Inc. wants to defend their patent on the isolation of BRAC1 and BRAC2—two genes related to hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. Such a patent grants the company 20 years of monopoly control over the genes for research, diagnostic, and treatment purposes. A group of medical professionals, scientists, and patients are challenging the patent.
The criteria for a medical patent are such that while tools, medications, laboratory produced chemicals etc. can be patented, “Nature” cannot be patented. That which is patented must therefore be created, not merely discovered (regardless of how costly or effortful the discovery). Opponents of the BRAC patent often evoke Jonas Salk, who famously said in response to the potential patent of his Polio Vaccine: “There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” (more…)