03.04.18

Gemini version available ♊︎

Patents on Life Are a Cancer

Posted in Patents at 3:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CT scan

Summary: The subject of patents on life is being brought up again by several blogs of patent maximalists; they seem to forget or simply ignore the whole purpose of patents

THE only class of patents we strongly object to other than software patents is life patents (or patents on life). It’s no coincidence that Section 101 in the United States is based on several Supreme Court cases which deal with patents on life and patents on business methods/software (Myriad, Mayo, Alice). Some things do not deserve patents (neither at the EPO nor at the USPTO) because societal benefit of these cannot be proven. Patenting just for the sake of having more patents is misguided; limits need to be imposed/enforced somewhere. Patents actually derive value from scarcity, not from overabundance.

3 days ago we saw Kate Gaudry and Rodney Rothwell writing for Watchtroll (not a good choice of platform). They speak of application acceptance rates in “The Unpredictable Prospects of Patenting Cancer Innovation” (odd title which now speaks of “Patenting Cancer Innovation”; they actually say “Cancer Innovation” as if cancer invents something or people invent cancer).

We urge readers to see this old discussion of patents on cancer treatment and ethical dilemmas. Warren Woessner, a loud proponent of patents on life (his whole site is dedicated to that), now speaks of “Inventive Concept in a Diagnostic Invention” (whatever that means other than those old patent buzzwords, “Inventive” and “Invention”).

All it boils down to is some PTAB bashing from Woessner and others who think society should tolerate patents on life itself. He spoke to the choir:

In a talk I recently gave on the dire fate of diagnostic methods in the hands of the courts and PTAB, I argued that, in view of the columns of selection criteria and statistical analysis required to carry out the claimed diagnosis, that Cleveland Clinic might have “purported” more than they did about the inventive concept(s) required to reach the diagnostic conclusion.

[...]

Since 2014, the walls have been closing in on diagnostic methods. Ariosa adapted the PTO’s implicit finding that the discovery of the significance of a naturally occurring correlation could not provide the inventive concept required by the Mayo/Alice test. At the end of the Mayo decision, Judge Breyer rejected the Government’s argument that “virtually any step beyond a statement of a law of nature itself should transform an unpatentable law of nature into a potentially patentable invention [under 101].”

Kevin Noonan also wrote about Mayo after he had ridiculed Justice Breyer for doing the right thing (judge-bashing seems to be common a tactic among them). These people, whom we deem to be (patent) extremists (Noonan uses the word “overzealous”), are a danger to society’s health. All they care about is money through monopoly (pricing drugs and treatments out of reach owing to that monopoly). To quote Noonan:

This is not the first instance of patent practices being considered overzealous and a threat to the practice of medicine. And a remedy to this concern has been found before, to address patent claims directed to methods for performing eye surgery.

[...]

Should Congress deign to make inclusion of medical diagnostic methods within the scope of the exemption, such an action would comport with Justice Breyer’s invitation at the end of the Mayo opinion (“we must recognize the role of Congress in crafting more finely tailored rules where necessary”). Such a legislative scheme might reduce the temperature of those whose concern over the possibility that patent protection might inhibit medical services delivery has created the greater likelihood that innovation will be harmed by a lack of patent protection (or worse, that disclosure will decline, reducing the pace of innovation).

We’ve long written (since a decade ago) about ethical aspects of all this. Patents in their own right aren’t detrimental provided one studies the collateral effects, both economic and ethical, then applies common sense. Many other sites spoke about the ludicrous concept of granting patent monopoly on several rather fundamental diagnostics techniques (such as identifying chromosomes associated with particular illnesses, syndromes and hereditary issues).

As it turns out, based on this blog, “Oxfirst are hosting another interesting webinar on March 14, 2018 at 15.00 BST and 16.00 CET. The webinar is titled, “Are Important Innovations Rewarded? Evidence from Pharmaceutical Markets.” The presenter is Professor Margaret Kyle.”

That’s a very loaded question. Either way, framing the whole debate in terms of “innovations”, “inventive” and “invention” is rather misleading. What’s a lot more important is whether governments fund such research (which is often the case), whether the public is better served by such monopolies, and whether we care about access to medicine in poorer parts of the world. There’s a moral imperative too. If we ignore it, patents become a cancer to those whom they deny access to.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 08, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 08, 2021



  2. Microsoft Corporation is Still Protecting a Violent Criminal Who Assaults Women (Employing Him as Manager, Protecting Him From Arrest, Paying Him a Salary)

    Ahead of court and amid arrest warrant Microsoft still deems this a good idea? Then again, this same company works for ICE, helping to kidnap babies from their mothers...



  3. Links 8/12/2021: Linux 5.15.7 Out, Linux Mint 20.3 is Near

    Links for the day



  4. Links 8/12/2021: Zorin OS 16 Milestone and Calculate Linux 22 Released; Kubernetes 1.23

    Links for the day



  5. A Call for Sources and Whistleblowers From Microsoft's GitHub

    Remarks on our publications from this morning and a call for more leakers and whistleblowers, who know GitHub better than anybody else (including lots of fools who still outsource all of their hard labour to Microsoft through GitHub)



  6. [Teaser] Rape is Not a Joke

    Having just uploaded a police report, we’re starting to move the ongoing series to the next phase, which will still be — for the most part — weekly installments on Mondays (for months to come)



  7. [Teaser] Meet Microsoft’s Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot, Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley (Updated)

    Alex Graveley, a serial abuser, has been protected by Microsoft; what does that say about Microsoft and about Nat Friedman, GitHub’s CEO whom Alex considers his "best friend"? Stay tuned as we have plenty more to show



  8. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 07, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 07, 2021



  9. Links 8/12/2021: FreeBSD 12.3, EasyOS 3.1.13, and WordPress 5.9 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  10. [Meme] EU Assurances

    The EPO‘s staff cannot be blamed for losing patience as elected public representatives completely fail to do their job (with few exceptions)



  11. Clare Daly (GUE/NGL) Does What Every Public Official in Europe Should Have Done About EPO Shenanigans

    There’s another (new) push to hold the EPO accountable, seeing that the overseers clearly do not do their job and instead cover up the abuses



  12. Links 7/12/2021: Firefox 96 Beta and Fedora 37 Abandons ARMv7

    Links for the day



  13. Links 7/12/2021: Plasma Mobile Gear 21.12 and Tails 4.25

    Links for the day



  14. All IRC Logs Now Available as GemText Over Gemini Protocol

    Today we've completed the transition from plain text over gemini:// to GemText over gemini:// for IRC logs



  15. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 06, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, December 06, 2021



  16. [Meme] Rowing to the Bottom of the Ocean

    The EPO‘s Steve Rowan (VP1) is failing EPO staff and sort of “firing” workers during times of crisis (not at all a crisis to the EPO’s coffers)



  17. EPO Gradually Reduced to 'Fee Collection Agency' Which Eliminates Its Very Own Staff

    Mr. Redundancies and Mr. Cloud are outsourcing EPO jobs to Microsoft and Serco as if the EPO is an American corporation, providing no comfort to long-serving EPO staff



  18. Linux Foundation 2021 Annual Report Made on an Apple Mac Using Proprietary Software

    Yes, you’re reading this correctly. They still reject both “Linux” and “Open Source” (no dogfooding). This annual report is badly compressed; each page of the PDF is, on average, almost a megabyte in size (58.8 MB for a report of this scale is unreasonable and discriminates against people in countries with slow Internet connections); notice how they’re milking the brand in the first page (straight after the cover page, the 1991 ‘creation myth’, ignoring GNU); remember that this foundation is named after a trademark which is not even its own!



  19. Links 7/12/2021: OpenIndiana Hipster 2021.10 and AppStream 0.15

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft “Defender” Pretender Attacks Random Software That Uses NSIS for installation; “Super Duper Secure Mode” for Edge is a Laugh

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  21. Links 6/12/2021: LibreOffice Maintenance Releases, Firefox 95 Finalised

    Links for the day



  22. “Wintel” “Secure” uEFI Firmware Used to Store Persistent Malware, and Security Theater Boot is Worthless

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  23. No Linux Foundation IRS Disclosures Since 2018

    The publicly-available records or IRS information about the Linux Foundation is suspiciously behind; compared to other organisations with a "tax-exempt" status the Linux Foundation is one year behind already



  24. Jim Zemlin Has Deleted All of His Tweets

    The Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin seems to have become rather publicity-shy (screenshots above are self-explanatory; latest snapshot), but years ago he could not contain his excitement about Microsoft, which he said was "loved" by what it was attacking. Days ago it became apparent that Microsoft’s patent troll is still attacking Linux with patents and Zemlin’s decision to appoint Microsoft as the At-Large Director (in effect bossing Linus Torvalds) at the ‘Linux’ Foundation’s Board of Directors is already backfiring. She not only gets her whole salary from Microsoft but also allegedly protects sexual predators who assault women… by hiring them despite repeated warnings; if the leadership of the ‘Linux’ Foundation protects sexual predators who strangle women (even paying them a salary and giving them management positions), how can the ‘Linux’ Foundation ever claim to represent inclusion and diversity?



  25. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part IX — Microsoft's Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot Sought to be Arrested One Day After Techrights Article About Him

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley has warrant for his arrest, albeit only after a lot of harm and damage had already been done (to multiple people) and Microsoft started paying him



  26. The Committee on Patent Law (PLC) Informed About Overlooked Issues “Which Might Have a Bearing on the Validity of EPO Patents.”

    In a publication circulated or prepared last week the Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO explains a situation never explored in so-called 'media' (the very little that's left of it)



  27. Links 6/12/2021: HowTos and Patents

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 05, 2021



  29. Gemini Space/Protocol: Taking IRC Logs to the Next Level

    Tonight we begin the migration to GemText for our daily IRC logs, having already made them available over gemini://



  30. Links 6/12/2021: Gnuastro 0.16 and Linux 5.16 RC4

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts