The Body Snatchers are Alive and Well : In ACLU v. Myriad, the Battle over DNA Patents Rages

The Daily Scan at the GenomeWeb headlines In ACLU v. Myriad, It’s Scientific Accuracy, 0, and Wild Speculation, 1, writing:

“Unless you’ve been living under a sequencer, you already know that the ACLU v. Myriad gene patent hearings began yesterday. Daily Scan was there for the circus, held in a standing-room-only courtroom in downtown New York. The ACLU attorneys spent much of their time arguing that isolated DNA was not ‘markedly different’ from native DNA, and therefore not eligible for patent protection.”

The case involves the attempt to patent “isolated” DNA pursuant to the claim that such “isolated DNA” does not appear in that “cut way” as native DNA, i.e. that if you take a set of links out of a previously existing chain link, THAT is an invention.

One has to view this all with a sense of humor. Is it not amazing the creative lengths to which human beings in our society will go to make money? to obtain monopolies where possible and then to subsequently “rip off” their fellows commercially if they can.

A DNA patent means essentially that if “Institution A” obtained a patent on “isolated DNA X” then another “Institution B” which e.g. isolated that same “DNA X” out of YOUR body could not do a thing with it because “Institution A” would OWN the “patent” to that isolated DNA.

We have serious difficulties in viewing DNA patenting as anything other than a gross absurdity. If DNA patents are approved, thousands of commercial enterprises will soon OWN the patents to your body and mine. The patent trolls will function as the body snatchers of the future.

Frankly, from our point of view, the answer in this case has to be – NOT PATENTABLE – because it is NOT man’s invention, but God’s invention, and God’s inventions – whether in whole or in part – are not patentable – at least, given the way that we read the U.S. Constitution.

Ira Glasser – former ACLU Executive Director – at the Huffington Post : Understanding the Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

At the Huffington Post, Ira Glasser (Executive Director, ACLU, 1978-2001, Retired) sets straight the erroneous and oft emotionally distorted opinions floating around about the Citizens United Ruling, writing inter alia:

“The recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has been greeted with screaming dismay by most liberals. Many of them mistake the decision for doing things it did not do: for example, one hyperbolic letter to The New York Times asserted that the decision overturned “the century-old ban on corporate contributions to political campaigns.” It did no such thing. Corporations are still banned from contributing to a candidate or to a candidate’s campaign. The assertion was wrong, and the Times was remiss in publishing such a factually false claim…..

1. The issue at stake in the case was whether, consistent with the First Amendment, the government could criminalize speech that criticized a public official who was also a candidate for elective office, 60 days before a general election and 30 days before a primary.”

One should read that article in full to understand that the Citizens United ruling greatly supports free speech on both sides of the political fence.

See our previous posting Money is not Speech : The Volokh Conspiracy Calls the Legal & Political Community to Order on US Supreme Court Corporate Free Speech Decision

Changes to EUR-Lex, Official Journal of the European Union (EU), Legislative Acts, New Numbering in Treaties : EUR-Lex Newsletter 8/1/2010

The EUR-Lex Newsletter 8/1/2010 : Access to European Union Law contains important information about changes to EUR-Lex, to the Official Journal of the European Union, to a distinction introduced between legislative and non-legislative acts, and reference to the new numbering of the ‘Treaty on European Union’ and the ‘Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union’ as per the Lisbon Treaty. EUR-Lex writes:

“The EUR-Lex website has been harmonized with the other websites of the Publications Office….

From first January 2010 the structure of the Official Journal is adapted in order to take account of the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon….

In particular a distinction between ‘Legislative acts’ (L I) and ‘Non-legislative acts’ (L II) has been introduced in conformity with the Treaty of Lisbon….

Articles, sections, chapters, titles and parts of the ‘Treaty on European Union’ and of the ‘Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union’ are renumbered (Treaty of Lisbon article 5 and Annex).”

For more details, see the Newsletter.

EUR-Lex : Free Access to European Union EU Law : Official Journal, Treaties, Legislation, Case Law, Legislative Proposals


“EUR-Lex provides direct free access to European Union law. Here you can consult the Official Journal of the European Union as well as the treaties, legislation, case-law and legislative proposals. You can also use the extensive search facilities available on EUR-Lex.”

Read more here.

Web Censorship, Human Rights and the Law : US Senator Dick Durbin to Hold Hearing on Global Internet Freedom

AFP: US senator asks companies about China rights practices

“US senator on Tuesday asked 30 leading companies, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, IBM, Nokia and Twitter, for information about their human rights practices in China after Google’s threat to leave the country over cyberattacks and Web censorship.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, also announced plans to hold a hearing in February on global Internet freedom.”

Objectives of the fiveIPoffices : EPO, JPO, KIPO, SIPO, USPTO

For the Objectives of the “five IP offices” – EPO, JPO, KIPO, SIPO, USPTO – see here.

European Patent Office (EPO) Official Journal January 2010 is Now Online

The Official Journal of January 2010 of the European Patent Office (EPO) is now online here.