Epoch-Making Good News!

SCOTUS outlaws patenting human genes. Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ!

  • jeff

    I disagree. these companies will simply stop investing in R&D in this area and life saving genetic info won’t get discovered because, after all why invest tens of millions of $ if they have to give the discovery away for free?

    they are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs

    • Sam Schmitt

      Looked a another way, companies won’t hold human genes hostage by their patents. Other companies are now free to develop treatments without paying any fees for using genes.

      • jeff

        You don’t get it: you can only “hold hostage” what’s been discovered. how will the human race be better off now that these companies won’t be developing things that benefit the human race thanks to this ruling? Cancer will never be cured? that’s ok, because at least a greedy multi national isn’t making money from it

        • TheodoreSeeber

          There *are* other motivations than financial, I hope you know.

    • Mariana Baca

      Patents are not the only way of ensuring profits or trade secrets. FWIW. Techniques can be patented and sold, as can algorithms. Things can be trade secrets without being patented on all instances. Machinery can be patented and sold. OTOH, the protections of patents are too far reaching for this application — something that can randomly occur in nature shouldn’t be patented in the first place. It is a misunderstanding of what patents are for.

      • Mariana Baca

        Patents are for making discoveries part of the public domain while ensuring temporary exclusive rights, basically. Companies don’t stop making profits just because there are competing companies in the future, nor are they prevented from keeping methods secret if they choose.

    • PalaceGuard

      Given Monsanto’s track record on proprietary genesets (such as suing for right-of-use payment a farmer whose field held growing Monsanto wheat that he hadn’t planted: the seeds blew in from a neighboring farm), I am glad to see this decision. I can well imagine, otherwise, some gene-corp suing a living human who is unfortunate enough to have one of their “patent” genes by birth for the company’s royalties on it!

      • TheodoreSeeber

        I’m hoping Oregon has a reverse lawsuit on Monsanto coming up soon that will require them to pay, in perpetuity, for genetic testing of wheat destined for GMO-paranoid Asia.

  • http://www.frmartinfox.blogspot.com/ Fr. Martin Fox

    No, the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t “outlaw” anything. The court applied existing law.

    You may think that’s a quibble; however, by presenting it that way, you are reinforcing a problematic misunderstanding of what the courts do under our system: they do not write laws, they interpret and apply the laws passed by others.

    At this late hour, some might say, it is too late to rescue our constitution, so why bother explaining things the right way? On the other hand, the lateness of the hour might also be a reason to go the extra mile and spell out things that might, at one time, have been taken for granted (such as the understanding of the courts’ proper role).

    Speaking of which: even though I like the outcome, that doesn’t necessarily mean the court’s reasoning was sound. However, given who wrote the decision (Justice Thomas) and that it won unanimous support, that’s a hopeful sign for me.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      Who wrote the law injecting privacy into the constitution and making the federal government the sole adjudicator of said privacy?

  • TheodoreSeeber

    Does this mean the BBC Show _Orphan Black_ just got a whole new potential twist for its story line to play with next season?

    If genes suddenly can’t be patented, the season cliffhanger (finding the copyright notice encoded in ASCII binary in the genes of the clones, combined with the institution that created the clones suddenly offering them “freedom and twice yearly medical checkups) makes a whole lot more sense.


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