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Patenting life forms.
"The European Union has taken the demand of industry and research after a
uniform handling of patenting into account and issued the Patent Law Guideline
98/44/EG for biotechnological matters. To the dismay of the adversaries, this
guideline allows the patenting of gene-technological and biotechnological
products. As is done with technical patents, they must be a novelty, an
inventive work and must show the possibility of industrial use."
...Gene-sequences, regardless whether concerning short strands of DNA, complete
genes or the genome, should be looked upon as a common property of humanity and
be available to all. They represent a pool of information, whose access may not
be blocked by patents in specific areas.
... The problems caused by granting a material-patent on a sequence and all its
following developments may be seen on the example of the patent for the breast
cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 (Kemper 2002). In this case, the American company
Myriad Genetics was granted the patents for both genes and the developed
gene-tests on the basis of these sequences, with which a prediction of a breast
cancer probability is possible. The European Patent Office granted them the
patent on BRCA1 in 2002, followed by BRCA2 in January 03. On the legal basis of
these patents, Myriad is aggressively pushing through its rights against all
other suppliers for the sole implementation of diagnostic gene tests on these
genes. Even though the other tests are based on a different technical method,
the law is on the side of Myriad, as they own the patent for the gene, including
all associated processes.