license for TAQ

Robert G. Hamilton rhamilto at
Mon Apr 22 10:01:28 EST 1996

aquilla at (Tracy Aquilla) wrote:

>You seem to be forgetting about the fact that certain exemptions are made
>for non-profit institutional research use. As far as I know, no academic
>researcher has ever been sued for patent infringement for using Taq
>polymerase (or any other patented reagent/method). Many of the most
>powerful, newer techniques ARE patented! Most of the truly useful products
>listed in those glossy catalogs on your shelf are patented, including just
>about every 'kit' on the market and many of the methods as well. Whether or
>not you support the patent system, you would do well to become more familiar
>with it. Again, I suggest paying a visit to Promega's home page. There is a
>large volume of information on this topic there. They've done a great job of
>outlining and documenting the developments in this case. I agree, Roche's
>claims are invalid (IMO) and I applaud Promega for continuing to provide Taq
>polymerase at a reasonable price, and especially for challenging Roche's
>patents in the face of extremely expensive litigation, but I support the
>patent system and I think it works pretty well most of the time (when people
>don't cheat).

What exemptions? It seems to me that Roche's view is that they have a 
"right" to require a liscence for ALL USE OF PCR, a liscence that 
requires a substantial payment to Roche. The only reason they are not 
taking actions against researchers is because the lawsuit with Promega 
has not been resolved. If Promega loses, I personally expect Roche to go 
after scientists using "unliscenced" Taq. unliscenced thermal cyclers, 

Imagine if Visicalc were patented in the manner Roche desires for PCR. We 
would all still be using Visicalc! No Excel or Quattro pro, as Microsoft 
and Borland would not have been able to make the invesment necessary to 
improve spreadsheet software. We would all be limited to what Visicalc 
could come up with given no market pressure whatsoever! (That is, we 
would all be using Visicalc).

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