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European Court of Justice Rejects Stem-Cell Patents

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the but-it's-just-a-mass-of-tissue dept.

Patents 92

ianare writes "The European Court of Justice Friday issued a preliminary opinion that procedures involving human embryonic stem cells are not patentable — even if the process in question does not involve the direct destruction of embryos — because they are tantamount to making industrial use of human embryos, which 'would be contrary to ethics and public policy.'"

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92 comments

Life is not patentable... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35462374)

...there is prior art, at least by 4 billion years.

Re:Life is not patentable... (-1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35462528)

longer then that relly. your only counting what we knoe of.

Re:Life is not patentable... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35462750)

Spelling has been around for a while, too.

Re:Life is not patentable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35462880)

But misspelling has prior art.

Re:Life is not patentable... (0)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463200)

Yes, I applaud their result, but can't figure out their reasoning. Stem cells shouldn't be patented because they were invented by nature.

How exactly is the industrial use of human embryos unethical anyway? Honestly, refusing people potential treatments that could be developed with the industrial use of human embryos seems much more unethical.

Re:Life is not patentable... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463284)

How exactly is the industrial use of human embryos unethical anyway?

1) at what point does it legally become "human"? You have to draw a line somewhere for legal purposes. It'll be arbitrary and silly, but it's still necessary.

2) They are treating humans and human embryos as a special case. This is a good thing (for humans anyway). You don't want the usual sociopathic CEOs to consider the use/abuse of human embryos lightly, all in the purpose of profit.

If you think that allowing industrial use of human embroys is necessary to provide those treatments you probably believe Monsanto and friends GM plans will cure world hunger or something.

Re:Life is not patentable... (1, Troll)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463556)

1) at what point does it legally become "human"? You have to draw a line somewhere for legal purposes. It'll be arbitrary and silly, but it's still necessary.

Most of what makes a human a human is a functioning neo-cortex. The very first cells that can be traced to the neo-cortex form at around 8 weeks. That's the absolute earliest that it would make sense to define a human, and in reality it's probably much later than that that the neo cortex becomes functional. Suffice it to say that there is no scientific argument for treating a 0 to 8 week old embryo as anything but a lump of tissue.

They are treating humans and human embryos as a special case. This is a good thing (for humans anyway). You don't want the usual sociopathic CEOs to consider the use/abuse of human embryos lightly, all in the purpose of profit.

Why would I care what CEOs do to a lump of tissue in culture, when there are CEOs out there victimizing actual human beings?

If you think that allowing industrial use of human embroys is necessary to provide those treatments you probably believe Monsanto and friends GM plans will cure world hunger or something.

I'm definitely no fan of Monsanto, or any other corporation. I would not hesitate to describe them as evil. Nor do I think that GM crops are necessary to solve world hunger. World hunger is a political problem. That said, I'm not afraid of GM plants in the slightest. They should definitely not be patentable, that's for sure.

Re:Life is not patentable... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35466536)

Most of what makes a human a human is a functioning neo-cortex. The very first cells that can be traced to the neo-cortex form at around 8 weeks. That's the absolute earliest that it would make sense to define a human

This, folks, is what we call begging the question.

Why do you say that is what makes us human? How are you defining "what a human is"?

Re:Life is not patentable... (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35467212)

He is defining the earliest attribute that could be argued to constitute a THINKING human. It isn't the human part that raises ethical issues, it's the thinking part. An organism that is completely human but not thinking raises no ethical issues and a thinking organism that isn't related to humans in any ways shares all the same ethical considerations.

So please. Let's stop pretending the question is "when it becomes a human". The question is if it has higher thought and self awareness and it certainly has no chance of that without a neo-cortex.

Re:Life is not patentable... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35476964)

The question is if it has higher thought and self awareness

Has it been shown that newborns know they are babies, or that they are capable of meta-cognition?

And he did not specify "thinking human"; he implied that there was agreement that thats what it means to be human (to have a neocortex), when in fact that is the very core of the debate. Hence why its a "begging the question" fallacy.

Re:Life is not patentable... (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35509438)

"Has it been shown that newborns know they are babies, or that they are capable of meta-cognition?"

That is another question altogether but he question is taken out of our hands at that point. Nature, god, or what have you has declared via the act of birth that the new potential human is 'done'.

Re:Life is not patentable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35465774)

1) at what point does it legally become "human"? You have to draw a line somewhere for legal purposes. It'll be arbitrary and silly, but it's still necessary.

Birth.

Why make it more complicated than that?

Re:Life is not patentable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463400)

Looks like you have a different ethical reasoning concept than that court. The logic here is, that human embryos are potential humans. To grow humans to be salvaged to save others is not ethical. However, the embryo stem cells are not a very practical way to get stem cells compatible with you. It is better to you normal body cells and convert them. Even though we have not figured out how to use any of them in a treatment. All we do is trial and error.

Another risk in the commercialization of embryos is that poor women are used to produce embryos for the rich. This is unethical as well.

Re:Life is not patentable... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463442)

Looks like you have a different ethical reasoning concept than that court. The logic here is, that human embryos are potential humans.

The welfare of humans is obviously more important than that of potential humans.

Another risk in the commercialization of embryos is that poor women are used to produce embryos for the rich. This is unethical as well.

The poor do all sorts of awful work for the rich. Don't see why this is any different.

Re:Life is not patentable... (1)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35468326)

The welfare of humans is obviously more important than that of potential humans.

Says who?

Re:Life is not patentable... (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35467256)

"The logic here is, that human embryos are potential humans."

That is about as valid as defining damages based on "potential" profits.

You can't sanely define value based on a potential alternate future which can't be predicted. Today it is a lump of cells incapable of higher thought vs a lump of cells that IS capable of higher thought. The lump of cells that can grasp "I think, therefore I am" wins. That is a pretty simple ethical challenge in my view.

Re:Life is not patentable... (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463604)

Given that a human brain has about 100 billion neurons. Each of these neurons can be simplified as storing about 10000 floating-point values between 0 and 1 (granted, to an utter ridiculous level of precision, but moving everything about 1% has about the same effect of getting yourself drunk, so let's say each can have 4096 different values).

So that means that total amount of information in the human mind is close to 4*10^18 bits. This is about the amount of information encoded in 4 grams of metal, in the magnetic orientation of the individual atoms.

Given that there are about 6 billion people. Including all the dead ones, let's say 12 billion. So that means 48000 tons of steel contain more ideas than all of humanity has ever had, combined. The earth's core contains that ~ 10^12th time.

So we have prior art for pretty much everything any human will ever think up inside this little ball we're walking on.

Point being : discoveries are patentable too, in general.

Re:Life is not patentable... (2)

Muros (1167213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464150)

There is a difference between information and noise. Granted, it depends which brains you look at....

Re:Life is not patentable... (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35467268)

"So we have prior art for pretty much everything any human will ever think up inside this little ball we're walking on.

Point being : discoveries are patentable too, in general."

Amazing, you can come to that realization and still think of patents as having validity at all.

Re:Life is not patentable... (1)

Muros (1167213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464100)

I'm glad that they say that "procedures involving XXX are not patentable". Hopefully the XXX will be expanded to say, for example "XXX being done on a computer.

Can you clone yourself yet ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35462470)

just wondering, can you make an exact clone of yourself yet ? Like for ppl who cant have kids.

Re:Can you clone yourself yet ? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#35462534)

If cloning myself would be possible, there would be thousands of me walking around. The amount of DNA that gets released when I clone by myself is enormous (over the years)

Re:Can you clone yourself yet ? (1)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464046)

[Austrian accent] "You cloned the wrong guy."

Re:Can you clone yourself yet ? (1)

Muros (1167213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464176)

You must be a really nice guy. Personally, I'd hate to have thousands of other people about who are always right about everything.

Re:Can you clone yourself yet ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35462558)

I don't think it is a very good idea to clone sterile people. It would allow the whole population to slowly, but surely, become more and more sterile in proportion.

Re:Can you clone yourself yet ? (0)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 3 years ago | (#35462610)

and your point is?
let me give you a hint: "I don't think it's a very good idea to cook food. it would allow the whole population to slowly, but surely, grow smaller and weaker teeth."

Re:Can you clone yourself yet ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35462788)

Dude, go watch Stargate and see what happened to the Asgard. That would, like, totally happen to us too.

Re:Can you clone yourself yet ? (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463208)

Yes, because we need more people on earth. *rolls eyes*

Re:Can you clone yourself yet ? (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465088)

Unfortunately I think any serious proposal to control population should really look at the consequences. Reducing births (whether cloned or otherwise) leads to an aging population which has its own cons for society, economics and goods distribution. The alternative method of reducing population without reducing births has been war or disease and seems to be the preferred method through out history and nature.

Re:Can you clone yourself yet ? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465234)

That's not an issue unless the birth rate really drops. In China their going to have serious issues due to the rate at which the population has been dropping, but if it were a 2 child policy, the population would drop somewhat more gradually and be much less serious. You'd still have a significant drop, because you'd likely end in the 1-2 children per family range which is grossly insufficient to keep up the population. An average of 1.9-2 children per family would likely be much less of an issue. With about 2.1 per family being needed to keep the population stable typically.

Re:Can you clone yourself yet ? (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464846)

Technically yes. It's just not very practical or ethical.

try (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35462492)

. . www.greatiful.com .

Re:try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463054)

Spam. Doesn't have anything to do with anything.

Patents should not be about ethics (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35462504)

Personally I don't think ethics should play a role in what is patentable. Patentability should depends solely on the technical merits of the application. We do already have various laws, treaties and oaths concerning the ethics of medical research.

The idea that rejecting a patent somehow sends the signal that something is unacceptable is also a bit strange. Making procedures unpatentable would just make them more widely available wouldn't it?

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35462594)

Personally I don't think ethics should play a role in what is patentable.

Then you don't understand the nature of ethics. Ethics play a role in everything we do, even by their absence.
I'm sure that some would argue that the ethical requirement on a court is to apply simple objective tests that would reach a different conclusion to this, but that's very different from saying that ethics don't apply.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (2)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35462878)

Mod up! Seriously, if we didn't have ethics in everything we do, we'd be in the middle of the worst recession ever. Oh, wait ...

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463754)

We do have ethics in everything we do, it's just the values of some people are drastically different from yours and mine and that it so happens that those kind of people are the ones in power in this world.

You've heard about the law that mandates publicly-traded companies to maximize profits, right? well, that one was born out of a similar ethical belief that many powerful individuals hold for themselves.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465466)

You've heard about the law that mandates publicly-traded companies to maximize profits, right? well, that one was born out of a similar ethical belief that many powerful individuals hold for themselves.

I have heard CLAIMS about such a law as excuses for all manner of illegal and unethical practices, but I have never seen anyone actually point to that supposed law. I don't suppose you can point it out can you?

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35465888)

This is probably what you guys are thinking of: http://business-law.lawyers.com/small-business-law/Fiduciary-Responsibilities-Corporations.html

The management of a company (CXO, board of directors) have a fiduciary duty to the shareholders--they must act in the interest of the shareholders. Generally that means maximizing shareholder value. It is certainly not a free pass to acting illegally--in fact, illegal actions are a breach of fiduciary duty.

Although these cases rarely make it to the press, most large companies are constantly being sued by shareholders because they disagree with how the company is being run and claim it is resulting in reduced shareholder value. I've heard that it's actually quite difficult for a company to make large charitable donations because they will likely face a deluge of lawsuits from shareholders.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35467012)

I imagine so, it's just that people don't realize that fiduciary duty means more than turning in a good quarterly report. There does seem to be way too much emphasis on short term profit vs. long term growth or even survivability these days, but none of that suggests the rather ludicrous idea that the law requires shedding ethical behavior or the patently absurd idea that the law demands to be broken.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464106)

I'm patenting skin lampshades.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

wangerx (1122027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35481946)

That would be considered a design patent, so it really doesn't count for much.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35485978)

That would be considered a design patent, so it really doesn't count for much.

HAHAHA I have a design patent, and you're right. Avoid the scammers, like American Inventors Corp (now out of business). Hey! And thanks for encouraging me look them up; apparently many of their employees served jail time, so my expensive ridiculous patent now has schadenfreude built into it:

$2.28 million. “A top executive of a former Westfield company which preyed on amateur inventors was sentenced to three years in prison yesterday, and ordered to pay up to $2.28 million to aid the company's victims. John L. Samson, 62, of Hatfield, vice president of the former American Inventors Corp., was sentenced in U.S. District by Judge Michael A. Ponsor. Samson pleaded guilty last year to counts of mail fraud, money laundering and filing a false tax return, and is one of more than two dozen American Inventors employees to plead guilty to crimes.” (“Executive sentenced in inventor scam,” Union-News, Springfield, MA, April 2, 2002)

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

Muros (1167213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464262)

I'm sure the point that the AC was making, is that patents are about making inventions that further human knowledge/ability. Application of knowledge and power should always be subject to ethical review, but knowledge itself should not be.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464940)

Of course, quite a few people feel squeamish about using the results of experiments that Dr. Mengele and friends did...

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35467330)

>>Ethics play a role in everything we do, even by their absence.

Yeah, he sounds like the nuts on Slashdot who claim that "philosophy has no relevance" to their lives, and then go on to say how they hate Corporatism, and think that everyone should be left alone by the government unless they violate someone's natural rights to life liberty and property.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

computechnica (171054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35467948)

Slavery was Ethical at one point in time. Like morals, ethics changes as society does. Many do not consider capital punishment Ethical, while some are all to happy to pull the trigger as much as they can.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35462726)

the ethics is they don't want corrupt companies who can't implement proper safety policies doing all kinds of crap just to try and land the next big patent.

When where talking potential... say bio-warfare.... or the cure for being Gay... then I'm sure ethics are applicable.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35462966)

or the cure for being Gay...

Off-topic...
This is often stated, based on it being utterly ridiculous to concieve sexual orientation is some sort of medical condition that can be altered at will.
I wonder what the ethics would be in the hypothetical situation where there is some sort of pill that could switch humans to being attracted to males/females/both/none/poodles/etc.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (3, Funny)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 3 years ago | (#35462978)

or the cure for being Gay...

Off-topic...
This is often stated, based on it being utterly ridiculous to concieve sexual orientation is some sort of medical condition that can be altered at will.
I wonder what the ethics would be in the hypothetical situation where there is some sort of pill that could switch humans to being attracted to males/females/both/none/poodles/etc.

I'll take the poodle-pill. It sounds much cheaper and easier than being attracted to women.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464780)

No way dude, bitchaz' always get your money one way or another... ;-)

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463104)

which bit about

" CORRUPT companies who CAN'T IMPLEMENT PROPER SAFETY POLICIES doing ALL KINDS OF CRAP just to TRY and land the next big patent."

and ethics did you fail to grasp?

I think Scientology claims to cure Gay people... all you need is one of those type of people and well .... now pretend that their doing experiments on embryos etc... get the idea now?

and do you have any evidence that people are 'brain washed' into being Gay and not as Lady GaGa would say.. born that way.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463130)

ok... maybe your off-topic... but I would have said that, seeing as you topic is about ethics and medical research....

I think the ethics would relate to the potential for abuse as opposed to someone wanting a 'sex change' type effect, since that already possible in terms of changing your body in a more apparent physical way.

I've been told crack is known to work to a greater or lesser degree, so is poverty or a few quid for taking some pictures and putting them in a porno mag.

So money or crack already work to some extent.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463290)

the ethics is they don't want corrupt companies who can't implement proper safety policies doing all kinds of crap just to try and land the next big patent.

But corrupt governments are just hunky-dory, right? Maybe you should read up some on the use of human placenta from aborted babies in the research of European cosmetic companies. You can bet when they start marketing $100 a jar skin cream the European Court of Justice won't find any ethics problems.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

mcneely.mike (927221) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463430)

I thought they had the cure already... just ask tom cruise and john travolta... scientology, the cure for all your problems and money!

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465068)

"or the cure for being Gay"

And once the gays are cured, would you suggest prefer medical science to focus on curing blacks, or would the jews be a better place to start?

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465504)

Believe me, if big pharma could "cure" being black they would be secretly funding the KKK and neo nazis in order to maximize their market penetration.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (4, Interesting)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 3 years ago | (#35462728)

These are techniques using the building blocks of life, not some drug they have developed. If the patented technique is close to how a human life develops then effectively that company would have a patent on human development. That is why it would be unethical and wrong.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35467170)

Not really. Stem cells are not studied because they contain DNA. They are studied because they can express into other cells. Which of the cells they end up expressing into is very specific process. So calling it "basic" is misleading. Very same process could be used to produce live organs without ever producing a full living being. If the patents are allowed, it could lead to incentives for harvesting stem cells for producing organs. That would be an industrial use of human embryos. Currently, only blood plasma is harvested for industrial use (proteins in the plasma are used to produce medicine).

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463028)

The problem is not about the application or procedure. The fact that the procedure uses a raw material, and that material is a human embryo, is the issue.

If you want to make a drug that is made from plants, fine you can patent that. If you want to make a drug with embryos, it wont be patentable.(analogy)

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

Muros (1167213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464304)

Yes but this is a fundamentally flawed approach. Patents are assigned to new ways of applying applying human knowledge, to promote research and to advance science. If something is potentially unethical, but patentable, patents should be granted and laws made to deny application of said knowledge to areas we deem unpalatable.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463426)

If we give someone an exclusive right to use something this already involves ethics. In the 19th century humans decided it is unethical to be able to use other people inventions without a fee. So the very core of patents is based on ethics even though nowadays this concept might be outdated, there are other ethical boundaries which affect what it patentable and what is not.

The idea of the court is, that you shall not make profit with embryos.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

Muros (1167213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464484)

This idea will always change over time, but patents have always boiled down to be about people not profiting from someone else's work. An extreme historical example of litigation against an "infringer" (of copyright, not patent, but they are similar and neither was really applicable in this example) would be St. Columbkille, who, in the 6th century in Ireland, was forced to hand over a copy of a book he had made to the owner of the book. The book in question was the christian bible, or portions thereof, with various commentaries included, and exquisite illustrations and caligraphy. The judge, some local chieftan, decreed "To every cow her calf, to every book its copy", totally ignoring the phenomenal amount of work he had put into copying a work, for no profit, that was by todays standards public domain, in a world with no IP laws.

I have no problem with people being rewarded for their work, but we have been trying for well over a thousand years to find the correct balance and have not yet got it right. That may be because it has not been an issue outside academia until recently, but it is not promising when they have not sorted it out for a thousand years and the greed merchants are dealing with the issue now.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464108)

Making procedures unpatentable would just make them more widely available wouldn't it?

Generally, perhaps. But aren't you missing the topic? Consider this:

[BiotexCorp] "We discovered that cells taken from the brain of living human embryos and implanted to the brains of human babies do this and that."

[Western authorities] "Say what? Where the hell did you get the babies from?"

[BiotexCorp] "Asia. Their parents where cool with it. Can we have a patent now?"

[Western authorities] "Of course. You must have lots of competition, what was I thinking. Here you go."

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

Muros (1167213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464188)

Interesting point. If guns were invented today we'd have patents around a new way to kill someone. Morals/ethics would not come into it.

Re:Patents should not be about ethics (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35466558)

If something were patented it lends some kind of implicit approval to it. It also makes it less profitable to go into it, as noone would have exclusive rights.

finnly we found something we cant patent (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35462524)

we do ideas and even water(bottled) but i guess unborn people or clones is takeing it a bit to far. bought find we found a boundry to this bs.

right answer wrong reason (5, Interesting)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 3 years ago | (#35462598)

as far as I understand it, the point of patents is to allow inventors to profit from their invention even though it's not an industrial secret. the community can benefit from understanding why the invention works, and the inventor gets back their investment, plus profit.
there are a lot of problems with this system at the moment, because too many things are getting patented.
there are a lot of cases where several researchers concentrate on some given problem, they publish intermediary results, and it is predictable that within some time frame most specialists will arrive at the same solution. however, only the first one to find the final result (or the first one to file for the patent) is awarded the patent. this is wrong in my view, because there is an entire community working in that direction.
in medicine, I'm pretty confident this is the general case, and pretty much the reason there are several different but similar drugs dealing with the same medical problems.

basically, I think patents should only be granted to individual researchers who can prove they developped a concept (on their own) based on widely available information. anything other than that is just simple research, and should be rewarded with grants or prizes by private persons/organisations, but not with a patent. "ethics" and religion should have nothing to do with patentability.

Re:right answer wrong reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35462706)

too many things are getting patented

That phrase is mine - kindly send your licensing fee to me immediately.

Re:right answer wrong reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463094)

Oh dear.

You appear to have mixed up patents and copyright.

Re:right answer wrong reason (1)

mcneely.mike (927221) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464116)

I think he patented the copyright on it.
;-)

Re:right answer wrong reason (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35465252)

But I've got a patent on claiming licensing fees on patents I don't really have, so you can just make the check out to CASH.

Re:right answer wrong reason (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463134)

The basic premise on which patents are based is flawed. The patent system assumes that a given invention is invented once by a single individual or company. In reality, may inventions are invented by several people working independently around the same time. In this case, why should one person be rewarded for the invention while others are not?

Even if people don't agree with my assertions above, the implentation of patents is broken by the very low threshold or originality required to obtain a patent.

Re:right answer wrong reason (1)

crunchygranola (1954152) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464286)

The basic premise on which patents are based is flawed. The patent system assumes that a given invention is invented once by a single individual or company. In reality, may inventions are invented by several people working independently around the same time. In this case, why should one person be rewarded for the invention while others are not?

Even if people don't agree with my assertions above, the implentation of patents is broken by the very low threshold or originality required to obtain a patent.

You have a fundamental, but very common, misunderstanding about the primary purpose of patents. It is widely believed that patents were created for the purpose of rewarding innovative people, although it only does so for a limited time. Actually the purpose is to benefit society by encouraging the free exchange of useful innovations, the period of exclusive rights under patent is the cost society accepts in return. Without patents innovations would still 'all be developed by several people working independently around the same time', but they would all keep them as trade secrets and prevent their disclosure at all costs. This is what patents are intended to prevent.

Re:right answer wrong reason (2)

kanweg (771128) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463150)

The intermediary results count as prior art just like anything else. And to get a patent the invention has to be Novel and involve an Inventive Step over that. Sure, the final result may be something obviously desirable, but if you can't solve the problem of how to get there just by studying that intermediary literature and know what to do, then the Inventive Step is there, and a patent is warranted.

There is a system to get rid of patents that shouldn't have been granted (called the Opposition procedure in Europe).

The advantage of a patent over prizes is that there is no need to have a committee putting a price on it. The market decides. And the problem as to what warrants a prize and what does not is about the same, I guess.

Bert

wrong answer right question (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463790)

Because it makes use of embryos is not a good reason. You can make any use you like of chicken embryos, and there are only two reasons to treat human ones differently. One is superstition and the other one is abuse. Abuse is already covered by various other laws; any time you're misusing embryos or causing their production by some means we need to worry about, you're already breaking laws.

Re:right answer wrong reason (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463806)

Another problem:
50 companies work on attempting to get a technological breakthrough.
One of them managed to get the breakthrough.
They now patent the method, which by proxy blocks of all the 49 other groups. If they had submitted the patent perhaps a year later, several other companies would have made the same breakthrough independently.
Why would they block the marked? There can only be a certain number of ways of doing stuff when we are talking about the same field, and when the start and end point is the same perhaps 1 or 2 more companies will make a different breakthrough.
But still, the issue remains: We have 47 companies blocked out by a monopoly created by patents. Acknowledging original inventor and all that is good, but we should not need a potential monopoly enforcing tool to do it.
Patents original idea was to make sure that nobody would deny research to other by keeping trade secrets on technological breakthroughs, and it worked. But it stopped working after some point, and the issue is becoming more glaring by the day.
To others: The problem of patents is obvious when the US accept and allow software patents, because it is used to block of the entire marked for fun and profit.

eugenics promoter; 1 less cup of coffee (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35462644)

saves some unidentified beings' life'? that's odd? do they skip coffee? eye gas there's some unwritten caverat in there whereas you must also send the resulting 'savings' from the skipped coffee to their eugenics program.

no wonder we allow ourselves to be deprived of almost everything really useful (stem cells for anyone?) they work.

so we pay to have our babys altered/killed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35462702)

fortunately. that's not expensive (the way they do it), so after the 'adjustment' we'll just learn to lose more&more stuff/spirits, like we are being persuadead that it's ok to do now. do the math. check what really happened so far, because we're doing it again. distractions/added fear are scheduled. coffee use is not an issue.

Q; just what do you mean it's 'fortunate' we pay? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35462760)

there's some notion/hope that it (eugenics) can be stopped if we fail to support it, and/or enCOURAGE an end to it. thanks

Q; why pick on eugeneticysts? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35462818)

the idea that it's a real word, followed by behaviors associated with its' definition, using fake (billionerror) 'math', is quite unsettling. as opposed to deweaponization, which is 'not' a word, although we have one that suits the need, unused yet in recent history.

Q; eugeneticysts is not a real word? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35462940)

right. note how we're trained to immediately focus (hold everything/go into rejection mode) on the 'incorrect' digit/character, as if it were a anti-aircraft round coming our way... very few misspelled words in amongst all the flags, weird symbols & hoopla presented by the walking dead (genetically altered nazi mutant) life0ciders. see you on the other side of it. keep your/your babys sleeves down. we love you (can you feel it (all of your sense(s)) yet?), please take a moment to love us back. thanks.

Why destroy the embryos? (1)

Ev!LOnE (1207842) | more than 3 years ago | (#35462716)

When they can be used as bio-energy farms. Its going to happen anyway, the machines are coming!

Re:Why destroy the embryos? (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 3 years ago | (#35462740)

the machines are coming

It's the people you wanna watch.

Re:Why destroy the embryos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463014)

When they can be used as bio-energy farms. Its going to happen anyway, the machines are coming!

Yeah! And this ruling really fucked up my business plan - fuck like an animal, knock up as many broads as I can, and sell the fetuses!

I can't lose!

The ruling text (3, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463086)

The preliminary ruling has been published in French and German:

* http://www.europeandignitywatch.org/fileadmin/user_upload/PDF/ECJ/Conclusions_de_l_Avocat_General_Yves_Bot.pdf [europeandignitywatch.org]
* http://www.europeandignitywatch.org/fileadmin/user_upload/PDF/ECJ/Schlussantraege_des_Generalanwalts_Yves_Bot.pdf [europeandignitywatch.org]

And there's the ECJ's press release in English:
* http://www.europeandignitywatch.org/fileadmin/user_upload/PDF/ECJ/ECJ_Press_Release.pdf [europeandignitywatch.org]

I'm reading with interest to see if this ruling can also provide a "public interest" base for excluding software from patentability if the question ever gets to the ECJ.

Re:The ruling text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463608)

http://www.europeandignitywatch.org/fileadmin/user_upload/PDF/ECJ/ECJ_Press_Release.pdf [europeandignitywatch.org]

I'm reading with interest to see if this ruling can also provide a "public interest" base for excluding software from patentability if the question ever gets to the ECJ.

+1 Informative.

Other than that, unfortunately no, it doesn't bear any relation with software patentability.

Ethics? (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464364)

Stem cells are beyond any argument of ethics or morals. A very strong argument can be made that humans are a filthy, worthless species and that allowing any human baby to be born is the ultimate crime against nature and any act that prevents a human from being born is the ultimate good. After all look at what human life has done to this planet and to each other as well.
                      So who are these wizards who declare one thing good and the next thing bad? Who appointed any keeper of public morals or wizard of public ethics? Worse yet these creeps find ways to make a living judging what is and is not ethical.

You don't need embryos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35465290)

You don't need embryos to get stem cells, so why is this path of logic being taken?

Patentability in Europe (1)

Artagel (114272) | more than 3 years ago | (#35466474)

Please remember that the European Patent Office restricts patentability of methods of medical treatment. So this is fairly nearby to a decision they already made. These public interest approach is far more common in the rest of the world than the United States.

discussing ethics.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35466620)

personally, in regards to ethics I think you are all idiots. read yourselves.

Monsanto fail (1)

luk3Z (1009143) | more than 3 years ago | (#35469650)

Fu*k Monsanto. Monsanto fail even if they have a lot of money and they can corrupt many politics and scientists.
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