EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.04.18

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 this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 12/12/2018: Mesa 18.3.1 Released, CNCF Takes Control of etcd

    Links for the day



  2. EPO Trust, Leadership and Commitment

    "Trust, leadership and commitment" is the latest publication from EPO insiders, who in the absence of free speech and freedom of association for the union/representation are an essential spotlight on EPO abuses



  3. Links 11/12/2018: Tails 3.11, New Firefox, FreeBSD 12.0

    Links for the day



  4. Number of Filings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Highest in Almost Two Years

    Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs), which [cref 113718 typically invalidate software patents by citing 35 U.S.C. § 101], are withstanding negative rhetoric and hostility from Iancu



  5. With 'Brexit' in a Lot of Headlines Team UPC Takes the Unitary Patent Lies up a Notch

    Misinformation continues to run like water; people are expected to believe that the UPC, an inherently EU-centric construct, can magically come to fruition in the UK (or in Europe as a whole)



  6. The EPO Not Only Abandoned the EPC But Also the Biotech Directive

    Last week's decision (T1063/18, EPO Technical Board of Appeal 3.3.04) shows that there's still a long way to go before the Office and the Organisation as a whole fulfil their obligation to those who birthed the Organisation in the first placeLast week's decision (T1063/18, EPO Technical Board of Appeal 3.3.04) shows that there's still a long way to go before the Office and the Organisation as a whole fulfil their obligation to those who birthed the Organisation in the first place



  7. Patents on Abstract Things and on Life (or Patents Which Threaten Lives) Merely Threaten the Very Legitimacy of Patent Offices, Including EPO

    Patent Hubris and maximalism pose a threat or a major risk to the very system that they claim to be championing; by reducing the barrier to entry (i.e. introducing low-quality or socially detrimental patents) they merely embolden ardent critics who demand patent systems as a whole be abolished; the EPO is nowadays a leading example of it



  8. Links 10/12/2018: Linux 4.20 RC6 and Git 2.20

    Links for the day



  9. US Courts Make the United States' Patent System Sane Again

    35 U.S.C. § 101 (Section 101), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and other factors are making the patent system in the US a lot more sane



  10. Today's USPTO Grants a Lot of Fake Patents, Software Patents That Courts Would Invalidate

    The 35 U.S.C. § 101 effect is very much real; patents on abstract/nonphysical ideas get invalidated en masse (in courts/PTAB) and Director Andrei Iancu refuses to pay attention as if he's above the law and court rulings don't apply to him



  11. A Month After Microsoft Claimed Patent 'Truce' Its Patent Trolls Keep Attacking Microsoft's Rivals

    Microsoft's legal department relies on its vultures (to whom it passes money and patents) to sue its rivals; but other than that, Microsoft is a wonderful company!



  12. Good News: US Supreme Court Rejects Efforts to Revisit Alice, Most Software Patents to Remain Worthless

    35 U.S.C. § 101 will likely remain in tact for a long time to come; courts have come to grips with the status quo, as even the Federal Circuit approves the large majority of invalidations by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) panels, initiated by inter partes reviews (IPRs)



  13. Florian Müller's Article About SEPs and the EPO

    Report from the court in Munich, where the EPO is based



  14. EPO Vice-President Željko Topić in New Article About Corruption in Croatia

    The Croatian newspaper 7Dnevno has an outline of what Željko Topić has done in Croatia and in the EPO in Munich; it argues that this seriously erodes Croatia's national brand/identity



  15. The Quality of European Patents Continues to Deteriorate Under António Campinos and Software Patents Are Advocated Every Day

    The EPC in the European Patent Office and 35 U.S.C. § 101 in the USPTO annul most if not all software patents; under António Campinos, however, software patents are being granted in Europe and the USPTO exploits similar tricks



  16. Team UPC is Still Spreading False Rumours in an Effort to Trick Politicians and Pressure Judges

    Abuses at the European Patent Office, political turmoil and an obvious legislative coup by a self-serving occupation that produces nothing have already doomed the Unitary Patent or Unified Patent Court (UPC); so now we deal with complete fabrications from Team UPC as they're struggling to make something out of nothing, anonymously smearing opposition to the UPC and anonymously making stuff up



  17. Patents on Life and Patents That Kill the Poor Would Only Delegitimise the European Patent Office

    After Mayo, Myriad and other SCOTUS cases (the basis of 35 U.S.C. § 101) the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is reluctant to grant patents on life; the European Patent Office (EPO), however, goes in the opposite direction, even in defiance of the European Patent Convention



  18. EPO 'Untapped Potential'

    "Campinos is diligently looking for ways to further increase the Office’s output without increasing the number of examiners," says the EPO-FLIER team



  19. Links 9/12/2018: New Linux Stable Releases (Notably Linux 4.19.8), RC Coming, and Unifont 11.0.03

    Links for the day



  20. Links 8/12/2018: Mesa 18.3.0, Mageia 7 Beta, WordPress 5.0

    Links for the day



  21. The European Patent Organisation is Like a Private Club and Roland Grossenbacher is Back in It

    In the absence of Benoît Battistelli quality control at the EPO is still not effective; patents are being granted like the sole goal is to increase so-called 'production' (or profit), appeals are being subjected to threats from Office management, and external courts (courts that assess patents outside the jurisdiction of the Office/Organisation) are being targeted with a long-sought replacement like the Unified Patent Court, or UPC (Unitary Patent)



  22. Links 7/12/2018: GNU Guix, GuixSD 0.16.0, GCC 7.4, PHP 7.3.0 Released

    Links for the day



  23. The Federal Circuit's Decision on Ancora Technologies v HTC America is the Rare Exception, Not the Norm

    Even though the PTAB does not automatically reject every patent when 35 U.S.C. § 101 gets invoked we're supposed to think that somehow things are changing in favour of patent maximalists; but all they do is obsess over something old (as old as a month ago) and hardly controversial



  24. The European Patent Office Remains a Lawless Place Where Judges Are Afraid of the Banker in Chief

    With the former banker Campinos replacing the politician Battistelli and seeking to have far more powers it would be insane for the German Constitutional Court to ever allow anything remotely like the UPC; sites that are sponsored by Team UPC, however, try to influence outcomes, pushing patent maximalism and diminishing the role of patent judges



  25. Many of the Same People Are Still in Charge of the European Patent Office Even Though They Broke the Law

    "EPO’s art collection honoured with award," the EPO writes, choosing to distract from what actually goes on at the Office and has never been properly dealt with



  26. Links 6/12/2018: FreeNAS 11.2, Mesa 18.3 Later Today, Fedora Elections

    Links for the day



  27. EPO, in Its Patent Trolls-Infested Forum, Admits It is Granting Bogus Software Patents Under the Guise of 'Blockchain'

    Yesterday's embarrassing event of the EPO was a festival of the litigation giants and trolls, who shrewdly disguise patents on algorithms using all sorts of fashionable words that often don't mean anything (or deviate greatly from their original meanings)



  28. The Patent Litigation Bubble is Imploding in the US While the UPC Dies in Europe

    The meta-industry which profits from feuds, disputes, threats and blackmail isn't doing too well; even in Europe, where it worked hard for a number of years to institute a horrible litigation system which favours global plaintiffs (patent trolls, opportunists and monopolists), these things are going up in flames



  29. Links 5/12/2018: Epic Games Store, CrossOver 18.1.0, Important Kubernetes Patch

    Links for the day



  30. Links 4/12/2018: LibrePCB 0.1.0, SQLite 3.26.0, PhysX Code

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

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

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts