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Summary: Patent violation upon birth -- the new "original sin"? The MPEG cartel also patents genes

THE scope of patenting keeps expanding and lawyers are unable to resist this temptation to enrich themselves with more unnecessary monopolies, this time on genes. Here is a new article titled "Monopolists of the Genetic Code?" (also in the Financial Times with some related news elsewhere)



Last week, Craig Venter created a media frenzy – and a frenzy of bioethical hand-wringing – when he announced the creation of the first “synthetic cell.” In reality, his team of researchers had created the first synthetic genome, the operating system of the cell. They had, in effect, switched the operating system of a particular cell to a new operating system that they had synthesized and edited.

Though many of the headlines talked of Venter being God and having created life in the lab, that is not an accurate way to describe it. Venter started with a particular naturally occurring cell and effectively, de-compiled, analysed and then painstaking edited and reassembled that cell’s genome to create a version of the cell never found in nature. Researchers had already synthesized the genome of the polio virus, creating a genome that would actually “produce” a live virus that infected mice in the lab, but the size of that initiative was several orders of magnitude smaller. The significance of what Venter’s team did lay in the scale of the enterprise and the mastery of the code that it demonstrated. It is as if I took your computer, copied the operating system, figured out what each part of that system did, pruned, cut and edited its functions, and then reloaded a substantially edited system back into the computer – a version which actually proved capable of running it.


The life of a computer, just like the life of a human, mustn't become the property of one person or a group. That's just abuse and it should be reported as such. For those who don't know, the patent troll MPEG-LA also has a cartel going on around genes. Here is a press release from last month. Larry Horn is also a threat to people's lives now.




MPEG LA Launches Initiative to Make Gene Patents Available for Diagnostic Testing



Licensing Facility Balances Open Access with Innovation to Deliver Diagnosis and Treatment

DENVER, Apr 08, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- MPEG LA, LLC, world leader in alternative one-stop patent licenses, today announced a market-based initiative for a diagnostic genetics patent licensing facility that addresses the market's need for nonexclusive access to patents for diagnostic genetics tests leading to personalized medical solutions that save lives and reduce healthcare costs.

"Diagnostic genetics testing holds great promise as a driver of precision therapy, but patent thickets and restrictive licensing arrangements threaten their delivery," said MPEG LA President and CEO Larry Horn. "The recent case of Association for Molecular Pathology vs. USPTO, Myriad Genetics and University of Utah Research Foundation (US District Court for the Southern District of New York) suggests the need for a solution that balances social cost and open access with innovation incentive. Applying its leading mass market patent licensing expertise in service to the healthcare market, MPEG LA is prepared to deliver it. We welcome all owners of relevant patents to join those who have expressed their support for this effort."

By aggregating patent rights for existing and emerging tests that may lead to personalized treatment (e.g., hereditary hearing loss in infants, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cardiovascular disease, Lynch syndrome) and licensing them nonexclusively for diagnostic use, MPEG LA's diagnostic genetics patent licensing facility, or "supermarket," will assist laboratories, testing companies and researchers in obtaining rights they need to design comprehensive diagnostic genetics tests that the market wants, thereby making these tests widely available through multiple channels at affordable prices.

In the current marketplace, many patent owners restrict access to their intellectual property in order to protect and promote their own tests, and others do not make their patents available at all because the costs of licensing them in isolation from related patents are prohibitive. By providing the public with wide access to tests that rely on the availability of these patent rights, MPEG LA's licensing supermarket will afford patent owners -- including those who currently restrict access or refrain from licensing -- a new and financially attractive, low risk opportunity to make diagnostic patent rights available to a wider market through broader, more inclusive tests. As such, the MPEG LA supermarket intersects cost effectiveness with effective treatment, alleviating the social costs of current gene patenting and licensing practices while preserving the investment incentives that enable developers to bring new genetic tests to market.

MPEG LA, LLC

MPEG LA is the world leader in alternative technology licenses, enabling users to acquire worldwide patent rights necessary for a technology standard or platform from multiple patent holders in a single transaction as an alternative to negotiating separate licenses. Wherever an independently administered one-stop patent license would provide a convenient marketplace alternative to assist users with implementation of their technology choices, the licensing model pioneered and employed by MPEG LA may provide a solution. Among MPEG LA's licenses is one for MPEG-2 digital video compression that has helped produce the most widely employed standard in consumer electronics history. The MPEG-2 Patent Portfolio License, which includes more than 870 MPEG-2 essential patents in 57 countries, has more than 1500 licensees accounting for most MPEG-2 products including set-top boxes, DVD players, digital television sets, personal computers and DVD Video discs in the current world market. MPEG LA is an independent licensing administrator; it is not related to any standards agency and is not an affiliate of any patent holder. For more information, please refer to http://www.mpegla.com.

SOURCE: MPEG LA, LLC

MPEG LA, LLC Tom O'Reilly, 303-200-1710 Fax: 301-986-8575 toreilly@mpegla.com

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