Patenting Genes

WAMU Radio Station (88.5 FM) hosted a segment with Rebecca Roberts on patenting  gene-related products. The biotechnology industry says these patents are necessary to spur innovation. Opponents say they actually stifle science. We examine the intersection of cutting-edge genetic research and intellectual property. Guests included Hans Sauer, Associate General Counsel for Intellectual Property, Biotechnology Industry Organization.  You can listen to the segment in Real Audio here. (via Patently BIOtech)

Male Baby Bomb

The Volokh Conspiracy talks about how the one-child policy and preference for boys in China has led to shortages of marriageable women in China, especially in rural areas. In this story, brides are able to extract a bride-price. Volokh notes that in a world with scarcity of women – especially in a world of scarcity of females and yet a cultural preference for male births – the result would be increased treatment of women as property. More valuable property, yes, but increasingly as property precisely as the perception of its value increased.

Gene Patent Fearmongering

The Slate ran an article about the evils of patent human genes.  “Patents are meant to protect inventions, not things that exist in nature like genes in the human body,” quoting Christopher Hansen, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union in regards to their lawsuit to have gene patents declared unconstitutional.  The Patent Office estimated that about 52,800 patents have been granted related to genes, fragments of genes, genetic processes and bits of DNA as small as a single letter change in the genetic code.

Handicapping Bilski

IP Law & Business laments that when the Federal Circuit issued the landmark Bilski decision, some folks were ready to call it the death of (most) business method patents, or even software patents—that view may be a bit premature. Even if Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor joins the court and turn out to be strongly pro-patent, those hoping for stronger limits on what can be patented, there are still a number of way to find a majority.  Several justices have, in other cases, dropped hints about what’s in their minds on this subject.

Organic Farms Under Fire

Organic farmers are wondering if some vague bills introduced both in the House and Senate of the US Congress, a reorganization of America’s agriculture system aimed at tracking and regulating foods for public safety, could endanger organic farms and gardens.  The bills, S.425 and H.R.875, attempt to modernize food safety and regulate and standardize agriculture by creating an agency called the Food Safety Administration, but in the process they could threaten organic farming.

German Court Bans Long Names

The German Constitutional Court upheld a ban on married people combining already-hyphenated names, forbidding last names of three parts or more.  The 1993 law that allows only one hyphen and two last names for married people. Germany’s highest constitutional court upheld the law in the case of the dentist, who wanted to be known as Frieda Rosemarie Thalheim-Kunz-Hallstein. (ABA Journal via Blawg Review editor)

Patent Lawyers at Sea

Co-skippers and fellow patent attorneys, Gary Ropski of Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione and Leif Sigmond, Jr., of McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP, got third place in the 2009 Patent Cup sailing regatta held May 27-30 at the Yacht Club de Ilhabela, Brazil, located on the island of Ilhabela on the northeast coast of the Brazilian state of Sao Paolo. Who knew?

Trolling For Votes

Polling for Top Patent Blog (by Gene Quinn at IP Watchdog) continues here. In a two-question poll, you can vote for both Favorite Blog and Most Regularly Read Blogs.  If you haven’t voted yet, there’s still time to do so here. Yes, we’re hoping you vote for us.  We’re shameless and you know it.  Or, at least you can find some new blogs for your reading pleasure.

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