76 UMKC L. Rev. 295 (2007-2008)
The Impact of Human Gene Patents on Innovation and Access: A Survey of Human Gene Patent Litigation

handle is hein.journals/umkc76 and id is 303 raw text is: THE IMPACT OF HUMAN GENE PATENTS ON
INNOVATION AND ACCESS: A SURVEY OF HUMAN
GENE PATENT LITIGATION
Christopher M. Holman*
I. INTRODUCTION
While opposition to so-called gene patents is nothing new, the rhetoric
appears to be heating up. For example, a recent New York Times editorial by
popular science fiction author Michael Crichton warns: YOU, or someone you
love, may die because of a gene patent .... Gene patents are now used to halt
research, prevent medical testing and keep vital information from you and your
doctor ... [B]y now one-fifth of the genes in your body are privately owned.'
The editorial alleges that certain unspecified parties have used gene patents
to secure ownership of diseases and entire genomes, and argues that by issuing
patents on genes the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has
misinterpreted Supreme Court precedent.2     Mr. Crichton is far from   alone -
similar concerns have been voiced by a diverse coalition of gene patent critics
that includes prominent scientists, religious leaders, public policy advocates,
academics, governmental agencies and members of Congress.'
Crichton's editorial appears to have been timed to coincide with the
introduction in Congress of the Genomic Research and Accessibility Act
(GRAA), a bill sponsored by Congressmen Xavier Becerra and Dave Weldon,
M.D., and intended to end the patenting of genes.           The GRAA      would
prospectively bar the patenting of any nucleotide sequence, or its functions or
Christopher M. Holman, Ph.D., J.D., is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of
Missouri - Kansas City. I wish to thank Kyle Jensen and Fiona Muiray for sharing their database
of human gene patents which formed the basis of their influential article on human gene patents. I
would also like to thank Lori Andrews, June Carbone, Robin Feldman, Timothy Holbrook, F. Scott
Kieff, Alice Lara, Nancy Levit, Christopher Mason, Gary Pulsinelli, Mark Lemley, Robert Cook-
Deegan and participants of the 2007 Intellectual Property Scholars Conference at DePaul
University for thoughtful commentary.
I Michael Crichton, Op-Ed., Patenting Life, N.Y. TIMES, Feb. 13, 2007, at A2.
2 Crichton, Patenting Life, supra note 1.
3 See, e.g., NATIONAL ACADEMIES OF SCIENCE, BOARD ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND ECONOMIC
POLICY (STEP), REAPING THE BENEFITS OF GENOMIC AND PROTEOMIC RESEARCH: INTELLECTUAL
PROPERTY RIGHTS, INNOVATION, AND PUBLIC HEALTH 125-27 (Stephen Merrill & Anne-Marie
Mazza eds., National Academic Press 2006) [hereinafter REAPING THE BENEFITS]; The Institute for
Science,  Law    &    Technology,   Nobel   Laureate   Opposes   Gene    Patents,
http://www.whoownsyourbody.org/sulston.html (last visited Jan. 30, 2007); Letter from Bruce
Alberts, President, National Academy of Sciences to Todd Dickinson, Assistant Sec'y of
Commerce          (Mar.          22,          2000),         available        at
http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/conmsol/comments/utilguide/nas.pdf; Press Release, College of
American Pathologists, Gene Patents Put America's Healthcare at Risk, says CPA (June 28, 2006),
available at http://www.cap.org/apps/cap.portal?_nfpb--true&_pageLabel=media (follow News
Release Index hyperlink); American College of Medical Genetics, Position Statement on Gene
Patents  and  Accessibility  of  Gene  Testing  (Aug.   2,  1999),  available  at
http://genetics.faseborg/genetics/acmg/pol-34.htm.

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