Bonum Certa Men Certa

Patent Unrest is Growing, Alzheimer's Disease Plays a Role

Alois Alzheimer



Summary: When patents cost people their lives more pundits are willing to publicly admit that the patent system is unethical

MORE PEOPLE are speaking out against patents. The Atlantic, an influential publication by all measures, is seemingly fed up with some patents:



In a closely-watched oral argument Monday at a federal courthouse in Washington, the core questions of the case read like scripts from a college philosophy exam: are isolated human genes and the subsequent comparisons of their sequences patentable? Can one company own a monopoly on such genes without violating the rights of others? They are multi-billion dollar questions, the judicially-sanctioned answers to which will have enormous ramifications for the worlds of medicine, science, law, business, politics and religion.


Tell this to Bill Gates, who happens to promote companies of these sorts by giving them investment money, by lobbying for them, and also by hiring their staff to join and administer the Gates Foundation. Maybe when Gates meets Alzheimer he will change his mind, but never mind, Gates can afford to license some absurd patent to save his life. Others can't. Mike Masnick is the latest to complain about this patent:

We keep hearing stories of important healthcare research being disrupted by patents, and the latest, as pointed out by Slashdot, involves an organization called the Alzheimer's Institute of America... which happened to buy some patents on a DNA sequence, and is now suing or threatening to sue a ton of researchers in the space. Amusingly, AIA presents itself as an organization committed to supporting Alzheimer's research, when it appears the organization is more focused on shaking down researchers.


More patent rants by Mike Masnick can be found in [1, 2]. He speaks about the patent problem wrt Google's dilemma and the Hubris-ridden Apple, which also happens to be hurt by them recently (although not sufficiently). Google too is named: "A lawsuit filed by H-W Technology earlier this week in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas Dallas Division claims Apple, Research In Motion, Google, and 29 other major technology companies are infringing on a patent it was granted in April 2009."

We all know by now that the Northern District of Texas is a breeding ground for patent trolls. When will the USPTO get rebooted?

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