B1603 – Gene Patenting (Prevention) Bill 2020

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Andrew97
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B1603 - Gene Patenting (Prevention) Bill 2020, TSR Government

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Gene Patenting (Prevention) Bill 2020

A BILL TO prevent the patenting of naturally occurring or human genes


BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1. Amendments to the Patents Act 1977
(1) The Patents Act 1977 is amended as follows:—

(2) After Section 4A, insert:—
"4B. Genes
(1) A patent shall not be granted for the invention of—
(a) a genetic sequence which occurs naturally; or
(b) a genetic sequence which exists in any human genome."

(3) To Section 130. Interpretation, after subsection (1), insert:—
"(1A) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a) of Section 4B, a genetic sequence is considered to occur naturally only if its entire sequence was generated by natural processes."

(4) To Section 1, in subsection (1)(d), after "or section 4A", insert "or section 4B".

2. Existing patents and applications
(1) All current patents that would not be granted under section 1 shall stand, but cannot be renewed.
(2) Any patent applications that would not be granted under section 1 shall not be granted.

3. Extent, Commencement and Short Title
(1) This Bill extends to the entire United Kingdom.
(2) This Bill comes into Force upon its passing.
(3) This Bill may be cited as the Gene Patenting Bill 2020.

Notes etc.
What it does

This Bill prevents the patenting of naturally occurring genetic sequences or human genetic sequences.

In the event that a genetic sequence is patented and then later discovered to exist naturally (which is remarkably unlikely unless the patented genetic sequence is based on one that exists naturally), section 72 of the Patents Act 1977 applies, meaning that the patent would be revoked if anyone applies for it to be revoked.
Why you should vote for it

There are various reasons why gene patents should not be permitted:

1. They don't really meet the requirements for a patent (these are, per the Patents Act 1977: Novelty, an inventive step and industrial application). They are a discovery, not an invention and they are not particularly novel on account of their prevalence in humans.

2. There is no real reason to allow their patenting. The aim of patents is to allow inventors to reclaim the cost of inventing their invention. It costs slightly more than $1000 to sequence an entire human genome, so discovering an individual gene is unlikely to cost much more.

3. The utility of human genes in diagnostic tests. While there are currently very few diagnostic tests carried out (via genetic testing), as our understanding of human genetics increases, this could change. The prediction of complex and polygenic disorders like schizophrenia might require the licensing rights to hundreds of genes – it could end up prohibitively expensive to predict polygenic disorders.

4. For human genes, it seems rather unethical that any corporation might be considered to have the rights to a part of my body, a description of a part of my body, or the instructions for producing a part of my body.

While gene patenting currently has little impact in the UK, it certainly might at a later date.1
References

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04MR17
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Needs a bigger logo
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Needs a bigger logo
I resized it like 3 times and then just gave up
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Moonbow
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Well, it seems fair. I’m not sure how much of an impact it would have to be honest, but do you know how enforceable it will be on large companies? I assume the same amount as any other kind of parent, but I’m checking nonetheless.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by Moonbow)
Well, it seems fair. I’m not sure how much of an impact it would have to be honest, but do you know how enforceable it will be on large companies? I assume the same amount as any other kind of parent, but I’m checking nonetheless.
Patents are upheld by courts and granted by the government, so there's nothing big companies can do to avoid this, thankfully.
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Bailey14
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I don't see anything controversial with this.
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Moonbow
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
Patents are upheld by courts and granted by the government, so there's nothing big companies can do to avoid this, thankfully.
True. Fair enough, it’s seems reasonable, unless any major issues arise I am happy to support it.
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El Salvador
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\i'm of course supportive
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Saracen's Fez
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If they don't really meet the requirements for a patent under existing law, why do they exist, incidentally?
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by Saracen's Fez)
If they don't really meet the requirements for a patent under existing law, why do they exist, incidentally?
The rulings and articles about them (that I found at least) only mention the industrial application part of it, so I have no idea.
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Miss Maddie
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"The study found that, despite the potential for gene patents to have significant negative consequences for genetic testing, in fact, human gene patents have little or no impact on practice for those developing genetic tests in the public sector in the UK."

Why does it matter? I don't see anything wrong with the current system that needs changing here.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
"The study found that, despite the potential for gene patents to have significant negative consequences for genetic testing, in fact, human gene patents have little or no impact on practice for those developing genetic tests in the public sector in the UK."

Why does it matter? I don't see anything wrong with the current system that needs changing here.
The section "why you should vote for it" covers this
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Miss Maddie
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
The section "why you should vote for it" covers this
While gene patenting currently has little impact in the UK, it certainly might at a later date.1

Have they ever been challenged, defended and upheld in court? If they have I'm interested. What case acts as a citations? If there isn't one is the patent a strong patent worth caring about? It's not as if you can point towards negative effects. Your own source admits there aren't any.

That section doesn't explain why it's an issue worth caring about.
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JMR2020.
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I agree with others that this is not a huge issue as others and the bill itself have mentioned however I'm don't see reason to oppose it.
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
While gene patenting currently has little impact in the UK, it certainly might at a later date.1

Have they ever been challenged, defended and upheld in court? If they have I'm interested. What case acts as a citations? If there isn't one is the patent a strong patent worth caring about? It's not as if you can point towards negative effects. Your own source admits there aren't any.

That section doesn't explain why it's an issue worth caring about.
You don't have to care about it to recognise that this is better than the current situation.

The patents have been upheld in court: http://ukscblog.com/new-judgment-hum...-2011-uksc-51/

The negative effects are possible negative effects in the future, as explained in point 3.
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Iñigo de Loyola
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Señor el Presidente, apoyaré esta proyecto de ley.

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Mr Speaker, I will support this Bill.
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Miss Maddie
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(Original post by Theloniouss)
You don't have to care about it to recognise that this is better than the current situation.

The patents have been upheld in court: http://ukscblog.com/new-judgment-hum...-2011-uksc-51/

The negative effects are possible negative effects in the future, as explained in point 3.
There's two things I've noticed with that example. The High Court and Court of Appeal originally revoked the patent. The Supreme Court upheld it using arguing the guidance of the Technical Board of Appeal in the EU should be followed. Their guidance was set out when they assessed the patent and determined there was industrial applicability.

If there was industrial applicability I don't see the problem in the patent existing. If there wasn't (as I assume the UK's equivalent might not find post-Brexit) the Courts would revoke the patent. I don't see why we need a blanket approach when courts have and will intervene on a case by case basis and there might be genuine reasons for a patent to exist.

The approach we currently use isn't doing us harm. Policy shouldn't be guided using 'ifs' when we have no idea if the 'ifs' will materialise.
Last edited by Miss Maddie; 1 month ago
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Miss Maddie
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(Original post by LiberOfLondon)
Señor el Presidente, apoyaré esta proyecto de ley.

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Mr Speaker, I will support this Bill.
I thought you supported businesses being able to protect their hard work using patents?
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Theloniouss
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
There's two things I've noticed with that example. The High Court and Court of Appeal originally revoked the patent. The Supreme Court upheld it using arguing the guidance of the Technical Board of Appeal in the EU should be followed. Their guidance was set out when they assessed the patent and determined there was industrial applicability.

If there was industrial applicability I don't see the problem in the patent existing. If there wasn't (as I assume the UK's equivalent might not find post-Brexit) the Courts would revoke the patent. I don't see why we need a blanket approach when courts have and will intervene on a case by case basis and there might be genuine reasons for a patent to exist.

The approach we currently use isn't doing us harm. Policy shouldn't be guided using 'ifs' when we have no idea if the 'ifs' will materialise.
The industrial applicability is very dubious, considering it's "maybe there will be industrial applicability at some point". Surely, if policy shouldn't be guided by "ifs", that would apply here too?

The blanket approach is because:
1. I don't think gene patents satisfy the other two criteria anyway (I am truly baffled as to how they constitute an invention)
2. The case-by-case approach isn't happening. If patents are being granted on the basis of "maybe at some point", then all gene patents will be granted, because there will always be a maybe.

There are also other reasons why this is sensible, namely:
3. You shouldn't be able to patent any part of nature or a human.
4. Gets in the way of diagnostic tests.
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Iñigo de Loyola
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
I thought you supported businesses being able to protect their hard work using patents?
I feel that people shouldn't be able to patent humans or animals. That, and I'm pretty strongly anti-GM when it comes to humans (I'm fine with GM plants) and this would disincentivise any plans to genetically modify humans.
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