Biotechnology patents

Bruce Roe BROE at AARDVARK.UCS.UOKNOR.EDU
Thu Oct 10 07:02:00 EST 1991


My 2 cents worth:
	The issue of patents for sequences can be divided into two
segments. 
	First, you *completely* sequence a gene or cDNA and then
go on to USE the sequenced gene/cDNA to produce a product or some
other USEFUL purpose which is WORTHY of a patent because it is new
and has utility.  In this instance, there are valid arguments for
a patent application and for granting the patent.
	Second, you *partially* sequence a gene or cDNA, do nothing
to show its utility other than it has not been sequence before and
then you apply for a patent.  It is just this issue which is causing
all the present discussion.
	Having attended the recent Human Genome III at Hilton Head, SC,
and listened to one of my collegues announce that he plans to patent 
each of the hundreds of cDNAs for which his lab has obtained approximately
400 bases of 98 to 99% accurate, single pass sequencing data made initially
made me mad and sick at the same time.  I then became almost violently mad
when I realized that the data from these trivial, inaccurate, partial
sequencing experiments that are a necessary part of the human and model
organism gene mapping projects, would not be made public until some months
after they were determined.  I really could care less if someone wants to
try to patent something as that's their decision.  But to keep, the data
which is needed for ETS (expressed tag site) mapping from the rest of us
while the patent is being applied for and maybe even waiting until a 
decision is made to issue the patent or not before releasing the data is
the real crime.  
	I personally would like to see the DOE/NIH pull the plug on this
and other individuals who are attempting to with-hold data from the 
community, especially when a grant or contract was awarded for the
*sole* purpose of producing the data for the community to use in genomic
mapping experiments.  
	Finally, there may not be sufficient data obtained and submitted to
the Patent Office to even warrent issuing patents on partial sequence data
which is not 100% accurate.  Thus, the issue may be resolved by the Patent
Office denying patents based on such data.  In the mean time, I suggest
that we contact the granting agencies, express our displeasure with
the current situation, and encourage them to take action?

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 *  Bruce A. Roe                    Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry *
 *  Dept. of Chem. and Biochem.     INTERNET: BROE at aardvark.ucs.uoknor.edu  *
 *  University of Oklahoma          BITNET:   BROE at uokucsvx                 *
 *  620 Parrington Oval, Rm 208     AT&TNET:  405-325-4912 or 405-325-7610  *
 *  Norman, Oklahoma 73019          FAXnet:   405-325-6111                  *
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ps. to paraphrase Dan "As usual I speak for myself and usually to myself"



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