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ACLU files lawsuit against gene patents

May 13, 2009 by  

ACLU files lawsuit against gene patentsThe American Civil Liberties Union is pushing for the reversal of a patent currently held by a pharmaceutical company that prevents other companies from pursuing vital cancer researcher.

ACLU joined forces with the Public Patent Foundation at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law to allege that patents held by Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer are unconstitutional and invalid.

"A gene patent holder has the right to prevent anyone from studying, testing or even looking at a gene," the organization said in a statement.

"As a result, scientific research and genetic testing has been delayed, limited or even shut down due to concerns about gene patents," it added.

In response, Myriad Genetics, whose lab is the only place in the country where diagnostic testing can be performed, has vowed to "vigorously defend" itself against the legal challenge, according to a report.

The lawsuit challenges genetic patenting in principle given that about 20 percent of all human genes are patented, including those linked to Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy and asthma.

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  • William Sowles

    Why is it today that the ACLU is doing what the FDA should do?

    • Lanny North

      If you look at Federal Food and Drug Regulators, you will find a plethora of former Monsanto personnel minting regulations and oversight to the tune of their former employers. The Supreme Court is also weighted by Clarence Thomas and other Monsanto people. With the ability of Monsanto to contribute many millions more than I am allowed towards elections (thanks to the Supreme Court), we shall soon face a state of affairs where no portion of the democracy responds to anything but corporate Power.

      • s c

        Lanny, I have three points. First, it’s an absolute waste of time to think in terms of a democracy. America was created as a republic. All democracies eventually fail. I realize that our in-house back-stabbers and useful idiots have been trying to turn America into a democracy, but they can find ways to justify anything.
        Second, the aclu shouldn’t exist. It is one of the many tentacles being used by our domestic enemies and other vermin to destroy America from within.
        Third, this is an old topic, and unless someone decides to bring it up again, it’s going to be filed in the website’s archives.

  • Michael

    How can someone hold a patent on a gene that is found in many human bodies? Did we somehow give up our rights to our own genes? If there is one organization I can not stand, it is the ACLU, but in this case I have to agree with them.

    • HP

      *Mike, I share your sentiments.

  • Robin from Indiana

    Are you kidding me? This is the first and only time I can remember being in full agreement with the ACLU. Hell must have froze over!

  • m

    The FDA is one of the most corrupt govt agencies in the world, right behind the US senate, house & president.

    • http://BobLivingston Rheta Martinez

      Backing you up on this, FDA’s only interest in in thier own pocket book and not in the interest of the people. Power and Controll! — To Hell with the people, they wouldn’t want people to get better and not profit it back to them!

    • HP

      emphasized text M you are hilarious, I agree with you 100%. I think somtimes the politicians in Washington must be escapees from their State’s mental wards,with some of the legislation they are passing from “capitol Hill.

  • Sam

    Someone divided by zero.

    Even I agree with the ACLU on this one!
    If you can’t patent a plant, or a plant substance, how in the hell can you patent another natural creation such as a gene?

    • Average Joe

      Sam , as much as I hate to inform you of this fact, but Monsanto has already patented plants. They have several plants already patented and are now in the process of trying to patent pigs (even though 90% of all pigs have the same genes that they are attempting to patent). This is bad news for all of us as Monsanto tries to control our food supply. If you want something to be angry about…be angry with Monsanto. He who controls the money, may make the rules….but he who controls the food…tells them what rules to make!And BTW…the U.S. Government holds the patent for Marijuana, so, once again…plants have been patented. Time to be angry…very angry! Boycott all Monsanto products!

      • Sam

        Average Joe,
        Trust me, I’ve been angry with Monsanto for many years, beginning with aspartame, on through its Roundup system of stealing farmers’ rights to save seed.
        What I’m saying is essentially the same thing the ACLU says: It is fundamentally wrong to allow patents on natural organisms or their parts, even if you “created” them yourself somehow.
        I already boycott Monsanto products, as well as those of most pharmaceutical/chemical companies.

  • MidiMagic

    It’s time to get rid of all patents and copyrights. They are monopoly powers.

  • Eric g

    Funny thing the government and the courts seem willing and almost happy to protect intelectual property . but real propery can be condemed and is taken away by the government for the public good .
    How can it be a public good to extend and renew monsantos plant patents after they fall into the public domain . Communists and socialist are not so likely to honor these patents and copy rights , as captalists . It used to be seven years protection , now it seems to last forever . Maybe we should put property taxes on intelectual property ???

    • Richard

      Patents were 17 (seventeen) years last I checked. To my knowledge, patents have always been seventeen (17) years. The rules may have changed since I last checked a few years ago.

      Without the ability to patent an invention there would be little incentive to expose your hard work to a public who would simply manufacture your invention without any concern for compensation to the inventor.

      Personally, I do not believe genes should be patentable unless that gene is a result of a manufacturing process that leads to the manufacture of that gene. I would still wonder if it would be better to patent the manufacturing process instead of the resulting gene. For if we can patent the stuff of life how long will it be till we patent an entire being?

  • Doid

    I am so sick of the self serving greed and corruption in the world now. I am just baffled and flabbergasted that man can be so selfish and evil in what he does to others. I must be some naive and foolish person at the age of 41 to think that the only way we are going to make it on this rock that we ALL share is to help each other.
    I support patents to a point. When the patent impinges on the rights of others and costs them food or good health, it is corrupt. It is completely sickening that there is so much corruption and evil in the world. What is so wrong with helping those around you to live better? It will only improve your life too.

    • http://MSN Dorey

      What is wrong is that the greedy just got greedier. There is a solution. Put their behinds out of office. They need 2 terms like the President and out. Get rid of those million dollar pensions that the robbers legislated for themselves. Send the U.N to somebody else’s country and let their poor tales fund it. We could jump start the American continent with what we pay out for that peace of crap. Find people among your peers who can and are willing to run, and get started. Don’t wait until they strave our butts like the French did. Instead of changing the way that politicians rule, we ASK for what belongs to us. Then we end up with a revolution for the “survival of the fittest.There are 567 people running the Government in D.C. There are more than 200 million Americans in this country: legal ones that is! Why do you think Hitler got rid of the peoples guns? Leaves you with no defense against a socilist regime. WAKE UP AMERICA, YOU LIFE IS CALLING YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bob

    I agree with Robin from Indiana. This is the first time I have agreed with the ACLU on anything. Hell must have frozen over.

  • JohnDumas

    ACLU, even a broken clock is right twice a day!

  • JohnDumas

    Genes of things that already exist can be read like a book. You can not copy write a book already in the public domain, if you want to copy write a gene write your own!

    • Lanny North

      I wonder also about the public university funds used to develop the gene technology. One can see that the real possessors of the knowledge and skills are also being exploited by Monsanto and other plutocratic corporations. Should corporate America not have to rent what others have discovered? Since when did a corporate anything demonstrate intelligence to be protected? I see the very ownership of a technology developed by our institutions used against the very people who funded the universities as just another instance of the extent of theft and misuse of power.

  • JohnDumas

    These guys have the Google virus, there is a difference between innovation and exploitation. Stop looking up what is and start inventing what is not! But that requires enough intelligence to see though the fog of education.

  • RON



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