Biotech Patents in the Age of Free Trade
Chapter 6: The Isolation Contrivance
[W]hen I isolate the DNA sequence from its natural environment, and when I separate the exons from the introns . . . I have made an invention, since I have isolated via a reproducible technical process the DNA sequence from the human body, and I have made a selection in the sequence, i.e., I have selected those parts of the sequence I am interested in. I will basically also copy that sequence, and then I have made cDNA, which does not occur as such in nature. All these elements make the DNA sequence I have isolated not a mere discovery but an invention, which provides a teaching to methodical action. The isolated sequence is not a product of nature, but a product derived from nature. Sven Bostyn, European Patent Agent, 20021 In the members’ view, it cannot be said with any reasonableness that a sequence or partial sequence of a gene ceases to be part of the human body merely because an identical copy of the sequence is isolated from or produced outside of the human body. The Danish Council of Bioethics, 2004 1873 was a signiﬁcant year for patent law. Not only was the ﬁrst international patent meeting held but Louis Pasteur,2 the most famous microbiologist of the day, was granted two US patents over the production of beer. The ﬁrst, US 135,245, was granted on 28 January 1873. Entitled ‘Improvement in Brewing Beer and Ale’, in one and a half pages it provided details of a process...
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