IP lawyers defend IP

Posted by Jesse Reynolds on November 17th, 2009

Like the US (1, 2), the Australian government is tackling the legality of patents on human genes. The proposed prohibitions on such patents, now under consideration in the Australian Senate, would, according to a speaker at a recent event, "bring the Australian biotech industry to its knees." Another speaker said:

It would seriously affect the biotechnology industry in that it would be difficult to attract investment in research that has commercial opportunities if it couldn't be protected. (And) if biological materials couldn't be patented ... there is a likelihood that important advances in medicine would not actually be released in Australia because there wouldn't be patent protection.

and another said:

If we ban the patenting of genes ... we will remove the incentive for people to invest. I'm worried that we won't then have the genetic tests of the future, the genetic therapies that I want us to have.

If patents on genes are so essential to the biotechnology industry, one would expect such statements coming from that sector. However, the chief executive of Australia's biotechnology industry group asserts that an end of human gene patents would place that nation out of line with others, leading to a proliferation of counterfeit products (1, 2).

Instead, these three comments are from the Institute of Patent and Trademark Attorneys of Australia, a representative of that Institute, and an intellectual property professor. At least the lawyers know where they stand.

Previously on Biopolitical Times:

Posted in Jesse Reynolds's Blog Posts, Other Countries, Patents & Other IP


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