license for TAQ

Rafael Maldonado rafael at
Mon Apr 29 15:45:22 EST 1996

On Wed, 24 Apr 1996, Tracy Aquilla wrote:
> Here's a more realistic 'what if' scenario for you to imagine: if diagnostic
> reagents, processes, therapies, etc. weren't patentable, there probably
> wouldn't be very many biotech companies investing in the research necessary
> to develop these things, and most of those catalogs on your lab bench would
> be a LOT thinner.

Well, till now, nobody has thought of patenting restriction enzymes, and 
the catalogs are FULL of them. Some people have invented many interesting 
things, as in vitro mutagenesis, transposons, cloning vectors, all of them 
are sold thru those catalogs your are talking about, and they are not 

I really think that patenting an invention is fine, but patenting an 
enzyme invented by mother Nature, and moreover, from an organism isolated 
in a federally protected area, is far away any expectation of mine.

Here other "what if" scenario: what would have happened if EcoRI was 
patented, the in vitro mutagenesis patented, E. coli patented, ColE1 
patented, EVERYTHING you use in the lab patented? Yes, I know, many 
things in the lab are patented; but not living things of theirs products.
PCR was already invented, the patent of Cetus only covered the use of a 
thermostable polymerase. And what about the guy who was using Klenow to PCR? 
It was not practical, but the 'process' (other thing I agree ii could be 
patentable) was already there.

A limit must be set to patent "things". I am not sure of that limit 
myself, but I think it is time to stop and... think a little bit.


Rafael Maldonado                             | 'No te creas todo 
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