Published 30 March 2010
Gene Patents held invalid in US
A judge in the US has ruled that human gene patents are invalid, apparently on the basis that the extraction of a gene is not an invention or discovery. As this is a district court ruling, expect appeals. The patents the subject of the litigation were for breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. There was a kerfuffle about these in Australia a year or two back, the upshot of which was that (if I remember correctly??) they were licensed royalty free in Australia by the holder of the exclusive rights over the patent rights here. Invalid in the US doesn’t mean invalid in Australia, but it may take pressure off Australia going down the wrong track in awarding patents.
See ACLU Press Release for more.
Published 9 September 2009
law , patents
OIN buys MS Linux Patents
The Open Invention Network has bought a number of patents from Microsoft at auction. Their press release is here. It is testament to the sorry state of the patent system that a vehicle must be set up specifically to buy patents and then not use them.
Published 9 May 2008
copyright , law
Tags: copyright, ip, law, patent, trips
Astounding in its simplicity, shocking in its consequences, the Center [sic] for International Environmental Law has recently held a workshop in Geneva on SUSPENDING IP OBLIGATIONS UNDER TRIPS: A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE TO ENFORCE PREVAILING WTO RULINGS? They have also released a paper on the subject.
While the theory is untested, given the extraordinary influence that such interests have in trade negotiations the likely effectiveness of such an approach in securing WTO compilance is dumbfounding, creating a sort of IP ju-jitsu move on big countries for whom IP is important but who are heavily into agricultural subsidies. In the extreme it can create a direct internal tension between various political constituencies in the target country affecting the negotiating position of the target country in future trade rounds. Once this has been established as a precedent it will cause even more trouble for countries with agricultural subsidies – as a breach based on subsidies is generic in its effect and will presumably entitle multiple aggrieved third party countries to take similar retaliatory action.
Hat tip to Shane Coughlan.