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9 J. High Tech. L. 52 (2009)
Gene Protection: How Much is too Much - Comparing the Scope of Patent Protection for Gene Sequences between the United States and Germany

handle is hein.journals/jhtl9 and id is 52 raw text is: GENE PROTECTION: HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
Erin Bryan*
Cite as 9 J. HIGH TECH. L. 52 (2009)
1. Introduction
The drive to map the human genome and identify genes led to the
establishment of the Human Genome Project (HGP).1 The HGP estimates
that the human genome consists of 20,000 to 25,000 genes.2 The U.S. Patent
and Trademark Office (USPTO) issues thousands of patents for human genes
identified by HGP and it is reasonable to believe that this trend will continue as
the HGP     isolates and    identifies more human        genes.'    This increase     in
intellectual property protection for human genes is not only evident in the
United States, but also is found in many other countries, and in the European
Union (EU).4 In the EU, disputes arise as to the extent of protection given
for human genes mainly due to the belief that living matter does not qualify for
patent protection.
This Note explores the patentability requirements for human genes in the
United States, the EU, and Germany. The first part of this Note sets forth
background information on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and human genes.
Erin Bryan is a third year law student at Suffolk University Law School.
1. http://'www.ornl.govlsciltechresources/Human Genome/project/about.shtnl  archived  at
2. Id.
3. Lynne C. Tyler, Genes and 35 U.S.C. §101: Are DNA Sequences Corresponding to Genes Patentable
Subject Matter?, 19 NO. 6 INTELL. PROP. & TECH. L.J. 16 (2007). Scientists estimate that through 2005 the
USPTO issued over 2,000 patents covering approximately one-fifth of all human genes. Id. at 16. See also
Kyle Jensen & Fiona Murray, Intellectual Property Landscape of the Human Genome, 310 SCIENCE 239 (2005)
(examining arguments for the patentability of human genes). Along with the increasing numbers of patents on
protein encoding genes, there is also an increase in the number of patents for non-protein encoding genes. Id.
at 239.
4. See Samantha A. Jameson, A Comparison of the Patentability and Patent Scope of Biotechnological
Inventions in the United States and the European Union, 35 AIPLA Q.J. 193, 196 (2007) (describing rapid
expansion of intellectual property for biotechnology).
5. Ingrid Schneider, Civil Society Challenges Biopatents in the EU, PROPEUR NEWSL. (Prop. Reg. Eur.
Sci., Ethics & L. Project, Birmingham, U.K.), Summer 2005 at 3. Germany and France both expressed
reservations with regard to the EU legislation on patenting biotechnology. Id.

Copyright C 2009 Journal of High Technology Law and Erin Bryan.
All Rights Reserved. ISSN 1536-7983.

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