Intellectual Property

Rate this item
(1 Vote)

The patenting of human genes has been occurring for several years, and around a quarter of the genome is currently held as intellectual property. Gene patents allow the patent holder to restrict access to and use of an isolated gene for any purpose, research and clinical, usually for a specified period of time. This protection gives the patent holder exclusive rights to develop tests, technology, drugs, and other products based on the gene.

Proponents of gene patenting argue that patents encourage innovation by increasing economic return on research investments. Others argue that patents restrict both biomedical research and application of research findings to health care. Finding the right balance has been a controversial issue debated in the genetics community, at the U.S. Patent Office, and in U.S. courts.

Learn More

Outside of This Program

Gene patenting has received a great deal of press as a number of patient and professional organizations weigh in on the issue: