Dr. Lana Feng to Present at the Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable's Gene Patent Event, September 25, 2013
As scientists and inventors risk their time and resources to explore the unknown, one of the critical rewards for their efforts towards discovery has been the patent: allowing them a 20 year monopoly to commercialize their work, if they make the results public. These incentives have been crucial to spark technology industries – especially in the life sciences.
But another cornerstone of patent law is that a product or law of Nature cannot be patented. No matter how complex, costly or difficult Einstein’s formulaic theory was to develop, he could not file a patent on E = mc2.
However, through 2013 over 20 percent of the human genome had already been patented by corporations and scientists, granting companies ownership and sole access to these fundamental building blocks of life. Indeed, the costs and risks are extraordinary; without exclusivity on the commercial product, even a ‘successful’ discovery could lead to no financial reward for the discoverer. As such, proponents of gene patenting argue that patents provide a tangible incentive for scientific discovery.
Opponents argue that patents on genes limit the ability of scientists and health researchers to learn more about gene-to-disease correlations and limit progress in fields that could benefit the health of all people, resulting in increasing prices for tests, impediments to alternative research and barriers to patients’ access to potentially life-saving technology.
Text and graphic from Oxbridge Biotech. - See more at: http://www.oxbridgebiotech.com/events/gene-patent-debate/