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Never Mind the Epidemic, Who Gets Patent Rights For the Cure?

timothy posted about a year ago | from the pretty-sure-robin-cook-splits-it-with-michael-crichton dept.

Biotech 135

A virus that has so far killed nearly thirty people in seven countries faces a non-medical obstacle to treatment: Patents. Reader Presto Vivace writes with this excerpt from the Council on Foreign Relations: "At the center of the dispute is a Dutch laboratory that claims all rights to the genetic sequence of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus [MERS-CoV]. Saudi Arabia's deputy health minister, Ziad Memish, told the WHO meeting that "someone"--a reference to Egyptian virologist Ali Zaki--mailed a sample of the new SARS-like virus out of his country without government consent in June 2012, giving it to Dutch virologist Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam."

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It's not a patent (5, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43884603)

It's a Material Transfer Agreement that means you agree to some restrictions including sharing / ceding patent rights. (That's OK, it's Timothy, we don't exactly expect accuracy here.)

But the real answer is 'so what'? Berne Convention, be damned. Countries with a vested interest in this issue aren't going to let some weenie little Dutch lab push them around.

And they got the material illegally in the first place.

I'll go back to breathing normally now.

Re:It's not a patent (4, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year ago | (#43884627)

The sequence is data. I don't think patents cover data. You could modify the data, but a patent claim is dubious. Working pi to infinity-2 is data. It's not patentable. My DNA, your DNA, is not patentable. Mod them uniquely, and you're Monsanto.

Re:It's not a patent (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43884791)

Women are truly worthless creatures. To a woman, losing to a man is the ultimate source of happiness. Why is this? Because all women know that they are inferior to men... they simply do not want to admit it.

Re:It's not a patent (5, Informative)

St.Creed (853824) | about a year ago | (#43884795)

It's not patented... *sigh*

What the lab did was to sequence the genome and then (oooh evil) expect to get paid for that work if someone else wanted to use THEIR work to build something with that. That's the modus operandi of every other genetics lab in the world - they all analyze stuff and then provide results to paying customers.

The Dutch lab is not blocking anyone from sequencing the genome themselves - that's a problem with *Saudi-Arabia*, they didn't even want to send the virus out to anyone in the first place for fear it would reflect badly upon their country. If the Saudi's sent out the virus to the CDC and other labs, for instance, this issue wouldn't be an issue, now would it?

The article is completely and wildly off the mark, and the summary is confusing the issue even more, if that's even possible.

Re:It's not a patent (5, Insightful)

the gnat (153162) | about a year ago | (#43884889)

The article is completely and wildly off the mark, and the summary is confusing the issue even more, if that's even possible.

This is at least an improvement over the previous article on the same subject [slashdot.org] , which didn't even identify which IP claims were causing problems. But I agree, there is some incredibly sloppy reporting going on here. I realize that the storyline of "evil Western profiteers kill people with patents" is very tempting for lazy journalists and activists, and there are genuine problems [wikipedia.org] with the patenting of gene sequences, but that's not even what's going on here. This is purely a case of bureaucratic infighting and ass-covering, and the article couldn't point to a single instance where Erasmus University actually prevented anyone from researching towards a cure.

Re:It's not a patent (2)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43885167)

Your facts get in the way of my getting to use this comment:

"Ah yes, we're exporting Americanism everywhere."

Damn you! I wasn't even going to read the article, I was just hoping for somewhere to place that comment. Now I see it's not even valid. Meh... I could probably STILL use it down-thread and someone will either mod it or reply to it. There's something to be said for just reading the summary, it's definitely not fair if you have to go knowing stuff and spouting facts and stuff. That's just not cool, man. It's not cool at all. ;)

(Thanks for the information by the way, I appreciate it.)

Re:It's not a patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885019)

You can't patent the default genes you sequence. You can patent isolating those genes into unique fragments that are not the whole sequence (the same way you can isolate and refine chemicals) for a therapy. You can patent a new gene that you created that did not exist in nature (hybrid or damaged).

Re:It's not a patent (3, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43885033)

"Virus data placed under EULA"

There, happy?

Re:It's not a patent (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about a year ago | (#43885207)

Yes, that's pretty much spot on.

As I said somewhere else in this thread:

"Ron Fouchier is the same guy that was burnt to the ground by the US government when he and his lab wanted to publish that dangerous virus recipe in Nature to inform everyone that the mutations could happen in nature by themselves. Is anyone really saying he should now suddenly send off his known-to-be-lethal virus sequence to all and sundry without even limiting his liability? That's incredibly hypocritical and also quite stupid.

You can't have it both ways, folks. It's either "let him share information" and publish in Nature and Science without having senators screaming he's a terrorist and they should nuke the Netherlands, or "let's not share the information" and have him sign MTA's with everyone to cover his ass."

Re:It's not a patent (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43885625)

Ron Fouchier is the same guy that was burnt to the ground by the US government when he and his lab wanted to publish that dangerous virus recipe in Nature ... It's either "let him share information" and publish in Nature and Science without having senators screaming he's a terrorist and they should nuke the Netherlands

Apparently your definition of "burnt to the ground" includes "publication was delayed". You make it sound like he was tortured by the Inquisition. Also that paper was not about a virus that exists in the wild (like this one), but about how to modify a dangerous virus so that it was more communicable to people. While his intent was scientific, it does sound a lot like how to build a better biological weapon. Publishing about a virus that already exists does not.

t's either "let him share information" and publish in Nature and Science without having senators screaming he's a terrorist and they should nuke the Netherlands

Bombast from congress? Who would've imagined. Being Dutch rather than American, the hot air probably dissipated before it could hit Fouchier on the other side of the Atlantic.

Re:It's not a patent (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#43885081)

What the lab did was to sequence the genome and then (oooh evil) expect to get paid for that work

Fine, so pay them for their work.

Find out what the researchers and lab techs were being paid hourly, add up the amount of time they spent, add 10% for a reasonable profit and cut them a check.

They're already amortizing the equipment, so maybe kick in another 1 percent for the cost of electricity and space for the lab. Find out how much of the work was done at publicly-funded institutions and send the Dutch lab a bill for that.

Patents for gene sequences should not exist. They're going to cause problems far in excess of their value to society.

Re:It's not a patent (-1, Flamebait)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#43885133)

Exactly, we need to remove all financial incentive for genetic research. Research and development for medicine should come from the goodness of ones heart alone. In order to become a geneticist, they have to already be rich anyways, so clearly they don't need more money. Capitalism after all is a virus, a pestilence of sorts that needs to be eradicated for the good of mankind.

Re:It's not a patent (1)

pakar (813627) | about a year ago | (#43886703)

But even if you don't have genetic patents they still have an incentive... Patent for drug X that affect gene Y in this manner.. Or Patent for cheaply and accurately detecting gene Z.

Genetic patents are not really good because they patent the actual gene so nobody else can make similar and better drugs or tests for that specific thing... There in lies the evil...

If we take genetically modified crops... They are patented and they are suing people that reuse seeds from their last harvest...... Now lets say Company A gets a patent where they insert some new genetic sequence into a person... If that person then gets a kid then he will be infringing too?? Or how about if a virus would absorb a genetic-sequence and then spread over a population... Will the infected be patent-infringers too??

Patents on genes should not exist. It's a really dangerous thing that actually hinders development of new treatments and blocks actual research.

Do a google and read up a bit on the issues with genetic-patents... To get you started...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/24/gene-patents-scientific-research-innovation [guardian.co.uk]

Re:It's not a patent (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#43886891)

But even if you don't have genetic patents they still have an incentive... Patent for drug X that affect gene Y in this manner.. Or Patent for cheaply and accurately detecting gene Z.

You must be new here. Well, on slashdot, having drug patents is bad too. Usually the reasons range from something to the case the summary makes (patents holding back the cure) to drug patents are made so that the drug is only just effective enough to make people better but not cure the sickness so that they can sell more drugs, to the drug company benefited from research not done by them so they don't deserve the profits, even though they spent billions on encapsulating the drug into a safe form, then making sure it is safe, doing clinical trials to map out all possible side effects, and then bribing the FDA to allow it to actually be sold on the market.

And yes the FDA needs to be bribed, in a manner of speaking. There's a surgery I'm trying to get right now that has been done in Europe safely since 1998 in order to prevent my Keratoconus from getting worse than it already is, in fact complete reversal of corneal degradation happens in upwards of 90% of cases where the surgery is performed, but the FDA still won't approve of it being performed in the US. It needs more "convincing", even after 15 years of very good results.

GMO patents are done on genes that are created from scratch. The anti-GMO movement likes to point out research where some scientists took genes from a fish and put them into a tomato, and cite that as their reason for banning it. The actual changes made however are relatively small, and they aren't copied from an existing sequence existing naturally somewhere else. They form protein structures that are literally invented rather than discovered. Last I checked, patents are for inventions. It's very hard to argue that creating new protein structures isn't inventing - the thing you're taking issue with is the means with which those proteins are created, which is completely irrational.

Most of the anti-GMO movement claims are based on what they see out of Hollywood. In fact every claim you just made has been vetted by a former anti-GMO activist (who was one of the founders of the movement) who found them to be untrue, and for the most part just outright made up due to a popular but irrational fear of any genetic modifications.

I highly recommend watching the video here. It's long, but it actually gives insight into genetic research that I never even heard of until seeing it.

http://www.marklynas.org/2013/01/lecture-to-oxford-farming-conference-3-january-2013/ [marklynas.org]

Of course, the popular theory now is that this guy has been paid off by Monsanto and is now a paid shill and mouthpiece for them, because clearly people only make a huge change in opinion when they've been paid to do so. And I hope you know better than to trust Hollywood, Greenpeace, the vegan movement, and PETA, all of which are well known to deliberately lie and spread false propaganda.

There is one good thing that will come of this though. While "the rest of the world" sticks to conventional farming due to irrational fears, the US will be leading the way in terms of future agricultural sciences, which means future economic strength. Think about what Dr. Lynas said: Farming output has increased by 300% while landmass used for farms has only increased by 12% since the 50's. Organic farming would do nothing except reverse that trend. GMO farming will make things even better however. I really do hope that we never forcibly stick "GMO food" labels on anything, because it will have the same effect on agriculture that sticking radiation output labels on on cell phones would do. This effect has created health problems as is - namely the anti-preservative scare. Now instead of artificial preservatives, food contains celery juice as a natural preservative, which has far more of those scary nitrates than the "artificial" sodium nitrate does, meanwhile the sodium nitrate is mostly harmless, and in fact exists in pretty much anything we eat anyways, even if its fresh from the garden.

http://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2012/09/nitrates-the-good-the-bad-the-truth/ [dontwastethecrumbs.com]

Re:It's not a patent (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about a year ago | (#43885177)

Patents for gene sequences should not exist. They're going to cause problems far in excess of their value to society.

Probably. Anyway, that's not the point here since they didn't patent anything. They're just asking people to sign a very standard MTA that limits their liability in case you decide to use the virus to bump off your neighbour, and gives them a cut of the stuff you develop with it. Everyone is free to re-sequence the DNA and avoid this clause. Except that Saudi-Arabia wasn't sharing any information, and the information sent to the Dutch lab wasn't sent legally in the first place, because S.Arabia wanted to prevent that information leaking too.

And another thing: Ron Fouchier is the same guy that was burnt to the ground by the US government when he and his lab wanted to publish that dangerous virus recipe in Nature to inform everyone that the mutations could happen in nature by themselves. Is anyone really saying he should now suddenly send off his known-to-be-lethal virus sequence to all and sundry without even limiting his liability? That's incredibly hypocritical and also quite stupid.

You can't have it both ways, folks. It's either "let him share information" and publish in Nature and Science without having senators screaming he's a terrorist and they should nuke the Netherlands, or "let's not share the information" and have him sign MTA's with everyone to cover his ass.

Re:It's not a patent (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43885349)

the information sent to the Dutch lab wasn't sent legally in the first place

So they're claiming rights to something that was obtained illegally. That could be an interesting legal situation.

Is anyone really saying he should now suddenly send off his known-to-be-lethal virus sequence to all and sundry without even limiting his liability? That's incredibly hypocritical and also quite stupid.

It would be incredibly hypocritical if anyone was saying that, but since they're not, you're being incredibly disingenuous in attacking this straw man. This is about making a buck off samples of a virus (not the genetic sequence), which, for good measure, they obtained illegally.

Re:It's not a patent (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43885385)

Boo-boo: strike out "(not the genetic sequence)". They're claiming rights on that too. What's next for "property rights" for scientific discoveries, the developer of a new theory of gravity insisting on everyone signing an agreement before they can use it? Newton and Einstein didn't realize the money they lost by just publishing.

Re:It's not a patent (1)

chihowa (366380) | about a year ago | (#43886079)

What's next for "property rights" for scientific discoveries, the developer of a new theory of gravity insisting on everyone signing an agreement before they can use it? Newton and Einstein didn't realize the money they lost by just publishing.

You know, if science isn't going to be funded collectively by society anymore, maybe that's the correct way forward. It is any wonder that smart people go to Wall Street and into advertising instead when they're expected to devote their lives to the betterment of all mankind and do it all out of the kindness of their hearts, too?

Re:It's not a patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886631)

add 10% for a reasonable profit

I bet you under-tip wait staff too.

so maybe kick in another 1 percent for the cost of electricity and space for the lab

Gosh, ain't you a prince?

Quick! Someone track PopeRatzo down and shove pieces of coal up his ass: He'll shit out diamonds in a few days! Profit!

Re:It's not a patent (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#43885415)

You are correct that it isn't a patent. It seems be more like a contractually based trade secret. It is unethical to allow such agreements to be enforced, especially for what basic research seems to suggest is a public university. At most, we should allow them to choose who to sell the information to, but not otherwise bind them downstream. However, if they need payment to do this research, the necessary payments should have been contracted first.

Re:It's not a patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43884657)

In line with what I would say. A patent is granted by the government to protect profit. If there is a pandemic of some sort, it is not unheard of for governments to just take the patent themselves for their citizens. I don't know the last time that happened in the US though for reference.

Either way, if the company refused to license the patent in such a case (before the government takes it), I'm not sure they would have any investors left.

Re:It's not a patent (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#43886261)

There are a number of court cases working their way through the system of the US government doing such things. There is this strange little clause that allows the DoD to take patented material and hand it to other companies to develop for them, so there have been problems with small companies patenting something, a contractor not liking the terms (or simply not wanting to ask) and the DoD simply removing their liability.

Re:It's not a patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43884659)

blame the submitter, not the self-proclaimed ''editors.''

Re:It's not a patent (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#43884697)

I'll go back to breathing normally now.

. . . not if you get the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, you won't . . . !

Re:It's not a patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43884713)

No worries, If we can just raise the sea level a little more the dutch won't be a problem.

so send all the patients and virus there (1)

swschrad (312009) | about a year ago | (#43884793)

all problems solved ;)

seriously... maybe... perhaps all these medical/life sciences patents and issues should be placed in public domain? like you boot up Unix and get (c) by 20 different companies? Universal MegaMedCorp LLC PTY M-O-U-S-E gets its name on every vial regardless who made it. good for mankind, good for morale.

Re:so send all the patients and virus there (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43884853)

It's best for women to be underneath men, squealing like pigs.

Re:so send all the patients and virus there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886491)

perhaps all these medical/life sciences patents and issues should be placed in public domain?

Better idea. If there's a defect in a Ford car that causes me to crash, Ford owes me big time because they built the car. Now granted, the patent holder of these genes did not create the genes, but I think the same kind of logic should apply.

Re:It's not a patent (4, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year ago | (#43884913)

It's not a patent It's a Material Transfer Agreement that means you agree to some restrictions including sharing / ceding patent rights. (That's OK, it's Timothy, we don't exactly expect accuracy here.)

I hate to be the first Slashdotter to defend our editors, but he didn't say "a patent". He said "obstacle to treatment: Patents". And in this case it's 100% right if you read carefully.

The Saudis don't want the material transferred from their country except by a special mechanism which guarantees them the Patent rights. That is slowing down the rate at which the virus gets to people. The lab which has a sample doesn't want to distribute it without special agreements about patents. Again, this slows down the transfer. If the lab was not motivated by patents then it could simply say "all patents based on this material must be shared freely and without patents", however they don't do that.

In all cases; if there were no potential future patents involved then the information could be shared easily and quickly. Patents and greed about them are the problem here.

Re:It's not a patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885147)

The article says no such thing about Saudis wanting a patent.

Re:It's not a patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885227)

The Saudis don't want the material transferred from their country except by a special mechanism which guarantees them the Patent rights.

Er.. not really right, it's a dutch genetics lab that has a sample of the virus, and are making people who use the data or sample sign an MTA (Material Transfer Agreement), that basically says you can't do commercial things with it without paying them, non-comercial research stuff all fine.

The fishy bit seems to be that the Saudi's didn't seem to want the rest of the world to know they had a little disease outbreak, and it reads a bit like they were trying to supress anything to do with it, and now seem to be making excuses.

(And none of this stops you taking your own sample from a parient with the virus and doing your own genetic analysis...

One suspects that you did not read the article... which is normal for slashdot, but given your username I would have expected different ;)

Re:It's not a patent (2)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year ago | (#43885397)

The Saudis don't want the material transferred from their country except by a special mechanism which guarantees them the Patent rights.

Er.. not really right, it's a dutch genetics lab that has a sample of the virus, and are making people who use the data or sample sign an MTA (Material Transfer Agreement), that basically says you can't do commercial things with it without paying them, non-comercial research stuff all fine.

From this article hare [twnside.org.sg]

The Convention on Biological Diversity (1992), to which Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands are parties (as are practically all other UN members except the US), establishes obligations for access and benefit-sharing for biodiversity, including prior informed consent of the providing country and mutually agreed terms for utilisation of the material. These obligations are further detailed by the Convention's Nagoya Protocol, which is presently gathering ratifications for entry into force.

The situation of Erasmus having obtained the virus and placed intellectual property claim over it without the consent of the Saudi government and without an agreement for benefit-sharing appears to be at odds with the requirements of the Convention.

Basically the Saudis and the Dutch lab are both fighting over the IP rights.

The fishy bit seems to be that the Saudi's didn't seem to want the rest of the world to know they had a little disease outbreak, and it reads a bit like they were trying to supress anything to do with it, and now seem to be making excuses.

(And none of this stops you taking your own sample from a parient with the virus and doing your own genetic analysis...

I would be really really interested to the reason for this. Your suggestion is possible; Look at the quotes in my other comment [slashdot.org] though and you see that part of the delay is probably because they simply didn't realise they had a new disease. The most interesting bit though is that it seems that they only just agreed to a new transfer

“But now... we’ve got an approval to move these samples and they will be shipped for testing,” he said.

(from this Alarabiya article [alarabiya.net] .) and note this, from the original article (with my emphasis)

The PIP augments the International Health Regulations, creating a series of understandings that are flu-specific regarding sample sharing, patents, and profits from products derived from viral discovery. Chan's response to Memish's accusations no doubt stems from her concern that the Saudis could invoke provisions of the flu-specific PIP, demanding control over the MERS-CoV samples, patents, and products.

In other words; the Saudis now believe that they have a legal basis for control, even if they share. Before they were worried about this. And notice, the same article mentions that the Indonesians did exactly that so this is not something that's being thought about for the first time.

One suspects that you did not read the article... which is normal for slashdot, but given your username I would have expected different ;)

I took my username specifically to remind me to read the article. In this case, the trollish bit is that I read not just the original article but a few more. The accusation is good though; keep it up and keep trolling all of us with it whenver you can.

Re:It's not a patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885273)

I'd like to see some mechanism wherein people with disease are de-facto patent owners. Sheesh, seems obvious to me. You don't own this stuff, it's in my blood, I own it.

Re:It's not a patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43884999)

No, it's a patent application. (And there's the MTA too.)

http://twn.my/title2/intellectual_property/info.service/2013/ipr.info.130515.htm

"This time, the discussion concerns the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, the subject of serious public health concerns as well as a patent application by the Netherlands' Erasmus University.

The potential for future allegations of infringement of Erasmus' as yet unpublished claims is causing consternation in research circles, as scientists scramble to understand this new virus, which has a very high lethality rate in reported cases.

The virus was sent to Erasmus without authorisation of the Saudi government, which has sovereign rights, and which has criticised Erasmus' intellectual property stance."

If lives are at stake perhaps the law must break (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year ago | (#43885171)

It might be worth whatever consequence from breaking this law if it saves lives.

Cuts both ways (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43884641)

If they're claiming the rights to the virus, they have to take the wrongs along with it. Hold them accountable for the damage the virus does, up to and including loss of human life.

Re:Cuts both ways (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43884715)

I like it. It's your virus? Pay up bitch!

Re:Cuts both ways (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#43885139)

Yep, patents are for inventions. If they invented the virus, they also must have let it loose on the world at large. Perhaps some Saudi style justice should be applied to those involved.

Re:Cuts both ways (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#43885201)

Hold them accountable for the damage the virus does, up to and including loss of human life.

Yes, the board, the shareholders and all C-level management should be held liable, personally.

When you weigh the number of problems that would be solved immediately if the principals in a corporation were held personally liable against the benefits to society to having principals be protected from liability behind a corporate shield, I think it would be pretty clear the personal liability should exist.

There would still be people willing to take the risk, since the rewards are great, but at least they'd have to give half a second to the consequences of their actions.

Re:Cuts both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885925)

Hold them accountable for the damage the virus does, up to and including loss of human life.

Yes, the board, the shareholders and all C-level management should be held liable, personally...

We just got done reading a summary that suggests pure greed is at the very heart of human loss in this case, and you expect those greedy cocksuckers to ever be held accountable?

That'll happen when they order the third round of snowblowers in Hell.

Re:Cuts both ways (2)

the gnat (153162) | about a year ago | (#43885285)

If they're claiming the rights to the virus

They (Erasmus University) aren't - read the article. All they're saying is, "if you want us to send you our data, you need to agree not to commercialize it without us, and you need to release us from legal liability." They're not claiming rights to the virus at all, only their own analysis. There is nothing preventing Saudi Arabia from performing their own analysis independently and completely ignoring the Dutch. In fact, what's really going on here is that Saudi Arabia wants to hold on to any intellectual property rights deriving from the virus, and they're concerned that the Dutch may fuck that up. If people die as a result, the fault lies entirely with the Saudi government for dropping the ball.

Re:Cuts both ways (1)

the gnat (153162) | about a year ago | (#43885901)

On further reading, I retract this statement:

They're not claiming rights to the virus at all, only their own analysis.

However, this stands:

There is nothing preventing Saudi Arabia from performing their own analysis independently and completely ignoring the Dutch.

Just make patents full ownership (4, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#43884677)

You reap all the rewards, but you're also responsible for all the harm. So if you want to claim you own a virus, then you're also fiscally and criminally liable for any harm that virus does. It also takes care of the Monsanto case where farmers who unknowingly have GMO crop blown onto their fields are successfully sued for patent infringement, but when organic farms who don't want the GMO stuff try to sue Monsanto for the same thing, Monsanto claim they have no responsibility for Nature spreading their seed around.

Re:Just make patents full ownership (2)

DMoylan (65079) | about a year ago | (#43884831)

they'll just blame people making illegal copies and sue their next of kin :-)

Re:Just make patents full ownership (2)

linear a (584575) | about a year ago | (#43884909)

I feel that one euro per unlicensed copy created by the defendant is fair compensation your honor.

Re:Just make patents full ownership (2)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43885637)

I hate to defend Monsanto but enough is enough. By now you've had time to read, you've seen the many posts, you've had the chance to learn. Monsanto has done none of those things you just accused Monsanto of actually happened (except maybe claiming they don't control nature, they don't). Here's a link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto#Legal_actions_and_controversies [wikipedia.org]

No, that doesn't list all of them but don't you think that they'd include cases such as the types you're claiming they have had? There's no vast conspiracy involving Wikipedia either. If they had cases like the ones you mentioned they'd be listed on that site. They haven't sued folks for having some seeds blow into their field. They've sued people who have intentionally, knowingly, violated either their agreements or their patents.

Wow... I can't believe I'm defending Monsanto. I need to go shower. I don't know where this rumor started but I recall watching some movie that made these claims. I then meandered over to that mystical fact checking box in the corner of my living room and had myself a peek. I typed in various mystical arcana and determined that, frankly, Monsanto is still an asshole but, frankly, didn't do half the stuff people accuse them of doing. It is like a repeat of the McDonald's Hot Coffee Suit.

Genes must be free from patents and other BS (1)

gweihir (88907) | about a year ago | (#43884701)

After all, these people did not invent them and even if they did, that would basically be software, again free from patentibility in any sane legal systems.

Do it any other way and the immoral vultures come in, people that not only do not care about others at all, but want to prevent anybody else from doing any work in areas the perceive as "theirs". That is a sure recipe for disaster.

Bill them then... (2)

Roogna (9643) | about a year ago | (#43884717)

If they "own" the virus, then send them the bill for ALL expenses related to the disease and it's effects. Put a lien on all their patents until they pay up.

Re:Bill them then... (5, Insightful)

St.Creed (853824) | about a year ago | (#43884821)

RTFA. They didn't patent it, they're not blocking anyone. The problem is with Saudi-Arabia, not with the Dutch lab. The article is borderline slander, but the summary is outright misleading.

From the article:
"Eleven months ago, Zaki told the Guardian, he was called in as a consultant on a mysterious case in his Jeddah hospital. Zaki tried to identify the virus, but the patient died less than twenty-four hours after he received the sample. Soon, a second case came his way, and Zaki mailed a sample to his friend, Fouchier. Zaki sent a notice in September 2012 to ProMED, a disease alert system run by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Under pressure from the Saudi government, Zaki's hospital in Jeddah fired him when the ProMED notice was posted, and he moved to Cairo."

Note the timing: he was fired after the alert got out that there was a problem.

Without the Dutch lab, there would have been no sequence and NO ALERT because the Saudi govt. was trying to keep it quiet. That was at a time that patients were already dying outside Saudi Arabia too. The whistleblower who saw two dead patients and a potential disaster and took action, is fired. Note that if they sent the virus to *ANYONE ELSE* the virus could have been sequenced a dozen times over, easily - it's not that hard. The problem isn't with a Dutch lab that asks for payment in return for results and a cut of the potential profit. The problem is with the Saudi government that fires people who actually try to alert the world.

Re:Bill them then... (4, Interesting)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43885025)

Yes, Saudi Arabia screwed up (what a surprise) by trying to keep the problem under wraps. However, it's disingenuous to say there is no problem with the "Dutch lab that asks for payment in return for results and a cut of the potential profit". FTA:

the Dutch team has not patented the viral genetic sequence but has placed it under an MTA, which requires sample recipients to contractually agree not to develop products or share the sample without the permission of Erasmus and the Fouchier laboratory

They are not looking to be paid for their work in sequencing the virus, but to get a cut of any treatment that may be developed by controlling who is allowed to develop a treatment. Why, because they received a sample first? Forget debating the so-called intellectual property rights aspect of this. Regardless of how Saudi Arabia screwed up, this is a serious threat to public health. Currently in Saudi Arabia, and potentially the rest of the planet. I don't know what you'd have to do under Dutch law, but if it were in the US it should be seized under eminent domain. Before some "property rights" fanatic gets their panties in a twist, I'll say the Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. City of New London was absurd. Transferring private property from one private owner to another isn't a public purpose. However dealing with anything that's a threat to the public health is very much a public purpose.

Re:Bill them then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885251)

Why, because they put in the effort to sequence the virus - an investment of labor that does entitle them to some of the proceeds that derive from that work. From my reading of the article, there is nothing that would prevent another lab from sequencing it and/or making samples freely available - the Saudis have unencumbered samples, so why couldn't other organizations get samples directly from the source? If you want me to provide something readily repreoduced to you, it seems fairly reasonable for me to restrict who else you can pass it on to.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a year ago | (#43885521)

That's a crock of shit. If I pay you for a good or service, I am usually not bound by further conditions. They can sell the info at any price they want, but it's unreasonable for them to limit what their customer does with that info after the transaction is completed.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43885579)

Why, because they put in the effort to sequence the virus - an investment of labor that does entitle them to some of the proceeds that derive from that work.

Erasmus is a public university, not a for-profit corporation. Fouchier, et al, get salaries. Universities regularly publish information from research that cost millions of euros, because that's what universities exist for.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#43886303)

True, but keep in mind one of the ways universities keep research going are the fees they make from patents, MTAs, etc. Unless the public is willing to invest a LOT more in public funding, Universities are going to need that revenue stream.

Since their agreement was written around the idea that only commercial applications required a fee (so other researchers and non-profits are allowed to use the data for free), they are already keeping to the spirit of public research pretty well.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

the gnat (153162) | about a year ago | (#43885313)

They are not looking to be paid for their work in sequencing the virus, but to get a cut of any treatment that may be developed by controlling who is allowed to develop a treatment.

But because there isn't actually a patent on any of this, there is nothing that prevents anyone else from doing the sequencing themselves. This isn't rocket science - in fact it is trivial for any reasonably well-equipped biomedical research institution. Saudi Arabia is only unhappy because they want to retain exclusive rights, which of course is quite legal under international law, but if they actually cared about developing a cure, they'd already have their own sequence.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43885485)

Saudi Arabia is only unhappy because they want to retain exclusive rights, which of course is quite legal under international law, but if they actually cared about developing a cure, they'd already have their own sequence.

You keep claiming this. Please provide a cite.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

the gnat (153162) | about a year ago | (#43885841)

You keep claiming this. Please provide a cite.

It's an assumption, but an entirely reasonable assumption under the circumstances. Conversely, the people complaining about this haven't pointed to a single instance where the Dutch university has actually held up research for a cure, which is what this article is claiming. MTAs are completely standard and it would be absolutely insane to instantly mail out samples of a lethal virus without some sort of legal agreement.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

the gnat (153162) | about a year ago | (#43885957)

You keep claiming this. Please provide a cite.

Actually, sorry, previous reply was incorrect - I did in fact have a citation [sciencemag.org] :

Memish, in an interview with ScienceInsider yesterday, says that he had not seen the MTA himself. "I spoke to many scientists that said they were not willing to take the virus because the MTA was too restrictive," Memish says, but he did not give specific examples. "I made my comments on this assumption," he says. But Memish says that the issue has not impeded research in Saudi Arabia itself, where most cases of the virus have been found.

Memish says that his main gripe is with the fact that Zaki sent a virus sample taken from a patient in Saudi Arabia to Rotterdam in the first place and that Erasmus MC has been able to file for patents as a result. "Samples were shipped outside of the country without the knowledge or permission of the Ministry of Health and I cannot believe that any country on this planet would allow this to happen," Memish says. Zaki says that he gave a sample from the same patient to the Saudi Ministry of Health first. "They tested for swine flu and did not continue," he told ScienceInsider yesterday. Only then did he reach out to Fouchier.

all parties agree that the virus was originally isolated in Saudi Arabia. Thus, the real question behind the discussions is whether Saudi Arabia should benefit in some way from whatever comes out of research on the virus

It's refreshing to see that Science magazine actually did some genuine reporting.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

St.Creed (853824) | about a year ago | (#43885331)

Well, the MTA is also about agreeing on limiting the distribution of a potential new plague. It would be pretty embarassing to have it end up in N. Korea through a chain of companies. This way, the signing party will be liable and Ron Fouchier won't get "renditioned" to Guantanamo for being a bio-terrorist if something goes wrong.

As for the seizing of property: if there was a clear need for the data and this lab was sitting on it, the Dutch government could have a chat with their own university council to get it released.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43885549)

Well, the MTA is also about agreeing on limiting the distribution of a potential new plague. It would be pretty embarassing to have it end up in N. Korea through a chain of companies. This way, the signing party will be liable and Ron Fouchier won't get "renditioned" to Guantanamo for being a bio-terrorist if something goes wrong.

You keep talking about the CYA aspect of it, which is straw man of your making since no one objects to that aspect. What you don't address is the "MTA, which requires sample recipients to contractually agree not to develop products ... without the permission of Erasmus and the Fouchier laboratory".

As for the seizing of property: if there was a clear need for the data and this lab was sitting on it, the Dutch government could have a chat with their own university council to get it released. [emphasis added]

Could doesn't mean they will, nevertheless you make a good point. Always twist somebody's arm first. If that doesn't work you can always break it.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

Zouden (232738) | about a year ago | (#43885651)

They are not looking to be paid for their work in sequencing the virus, but to get a cut of any treatment that may be developed by controlling who is allowed to develop a treatment. Why, because they received a sample first?

No, because they put the resources into sequencing it. If you want to use their sequence data, you have to sign their MTA. Otherwise you're free to sequence it yourself and use your own data. The Dutch lab isn't preventing you from doing that.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43885667)

I don't know, either way... However, given the slant and inaccuracies or omissions in the article I'd attempt to verify any claims made by the article before coming to conclusions. I really don't know - but, in this case, I highly recommend finding alternative sources (preferably unbiased) and then use that information to reach any conclusions you wish to come to.

Then again, I often opine that we should seek multiple sources of verification and engage in reasoning before reaching our conclusions. It hasn't helped, my opining that is, but I hope that it does someday. Perhaps my sanity needs to be checked.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43885087)

The problem isn't with a Dutch lab that asks for payment in return for results and a cut of the potential profit. The problem is with the Saudi government that fires people who actually try to alert the world.

I'd say the problem is with both. The financial rewards should go to whoever develops treatments and cures, not to a publicly funded research lab that happens to have received disease samples for free and is now trying to profit from them.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year ago | (#43885247)

RTFA. They didn't patent it, they're not blocking anyone.

These suspicions were confirmed on 28 May by Science magazine, to which Erasmus admitted an as yet unpublished claim over use of the virus.

(from this article [twnside.org.sg] )

The problem is with Saudi-Arabia, not with the Dutch lab.

Erasmus determined that it was a new coronavirus (SARS is another coronavirus), but delayed several months before making it available to others.

(same source)

Saudi Arabia's Memish complained at the WHO meeting that there was a lag of three months, between June and September 2012,

(article linked from summary above)

The article is borderline slander, but the summary is outright misleading.

That's a strong statement you are making there.

The problem isn't with a Dutch lab that asks for payment in return for results and a cut of the potential profit. The problem is with the Saudi government that fires people who actually try to alert the world.

Why does the problem have to be one or the other? Why can't it be both, but especially the involvement of patents in medicine and especially in patenting pre-existing natural gene sequences and their derived products? For clarity I deleted a section of your post where I have no comment

Re:Bill them then... (1)

the gnat (153162) | about a year ago | (#43885375)

Here is a better source [sciencemag.org] . Selected quotes:

Drosten, who has developed a diagnostic test using the virus from Erasmus MC, says that "anyone can use [the virus] for free." "What really shocks me is that the WHO seems to be buying into" the complaints, he says.

Memish says that the issue has not impeded research in Saudi Arabia itself, where most cases of the virus have been found.

Memish says that his main gripe is with the fact that Zaki sent a virus sample taken from a patient in Saudi Arabia to Rotterdam in the first place and that Erasmus MC has been able to file for patents as a result. "Samples were shipped outside of the country without the knowledge or permission of the Ministry of Health and I cannot believe that any country on this planet would allow this to happen," Memish says. Zaki says that he gave a sample from the same patient to the Saudi Ministry of Health first. "They tested for swine flu and did not continue," he told ScienceInsider yesterday. Only then did he reach out to Fouchier.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year ago | (#43885427)

Nice; Thanks. My chosen quote would be:

the virus material still belongs to the original provider (in this case Erasmus MC) and that the recipient cannot give it to other labs. It also asks for written consent from Erasmus for using the virus for commercial purposes.

After which I can't see how anyone can claim that this MTA doesn't slow down research. Think about the fact that producing and selling a vaccine is a "commercial purpose". Pharmaceutical companies do not operate as charities.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

the gnat (153162) | about a year ago | (#43885865)

After which I can't see how anyone can claim that this MTA doesn't slow down research.

But an MTA of some sort is totally standard practice - I know because I've worked in biomedical research labs - and absolutely essential when dealing with samples of a lethal virus. Even if the MTA did not specify any limitations on commercial use, it would still slow down the transfer of viral material. Any time there's an issue of legal liability the lawyers will get involved. It's not as simple as throwing a sample into a FedEx pouch and sending it off.

Think about the fact that producing and selling a vaccine is a "commercial purpose". Pharmaceutical companies do not operate as charities.

Okay, so hypothetically, if a pharma company wants to obtain the samples and intends to profit from them, why shouldn't they have to sign an agreement like this? If they're unhappy, they can always ask the Saudi government instead. No one is forcing them to go to Erasmus, except that the Saudis seem remarkably reluctant to cede any control.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

gronofer (838299) | about a year ago | (#43886641)

Sadly, patent law would work the other way around. They would be able to send you a bill for all the trillions of unathorised copies of "their" virus that your body is producing.

Re:Bill them then... (1)

gronofer (838299) | about a year ago | (#43886681)

Which presents an obvious business model: * Genetically engineer a novel infectable virus * Patent it * Somehow it may escape into the wild, purely by accident of course. * Sue anybody who is infected for the trillions of unathorised copies. Years ago this would have been unethical, but by modern standards, I'm sure you'd be fine.

I expect you socialists want the cure for free... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43884763)

If you can't pay for it the free market has decided you shouldn't survive.

Re:I expect you socialists want the cure for free. (1)

Kohath (38547) | about a year ago | (#43885237)

The disease decided you shouldn't survive. Free people making free choices decided to help you live instead. They're just asking for something in return for their time and effort.

Re:I expect you socialists want the cure for free. (1)

dcollins (135727) | about a year ago | (#43885683)

I will use those words the next time I'm looking for a polite way to describe blackmail.

Re:I expect you socialists want the cure for free. (1)

Kohath (38547) | about a year ago | (#43885859)

The farmer who grows your food is also "blackmailing" you the same way.

This is stupid (1)

msobkow (48369) | about a year ago | (#43884869)

You are not supposed to be able to patent discoveries. Genetic sequences already exist unless you're doing genetic engineering. Therefore you should not be able to patent any genetics found in nature, because you haven't created a God-damned thing.

Derivative works? (1)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#43884883)

"Never Mind the Epidemic, Who Gets Patent Rights For the Cure?"

I imagine that since the cure is, by definition, a derivative work of the disease, that some of the royalties will have to go to the labs that created the original disease.

Obviously, if it's an "Act of God" rather than a lab that created the disease, the money should go in tithing to your local church.

Correspondingly, you should be able to sue your local church, as God's representative on Earth, for compensation for any loss of life, pain and suffering, property damage, and so on, where Acts of God are involved unless, you know, they were to disclaim any association.

Re:Derivative works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885305)

Then you would have to identify which God was responsible. And they are notorious for being difficult to serve with papers, and then they don't show up anyway.

Re:Derivative works? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885393)

So serve the pope, he actually claims to be God's representative here on earth.

Cheeseheads (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#43884959)

They're well known for being tight bastards. The reason their flag has horizontal stripes is so it can fray halfway to the staff before they need to buy a new one.

About the patent right (1)

jonfr (888673) | about a year ago | (#43885027)

I would not worry to much about the patent rights, when holder is dead from this disease (natural spread due to the pandemic taking place) the patent is going to be confiscated by the government (of the U.S and rest of the world).

You can't make money out this patent if 80% of the world population is dead due to this pandemic.

liability (1)

neghvar1 (1705616) | about a year ago | (#43885085)

I say that if they claim the patent/all rights/ownership of this virus, then should they be held liable for the deaths caused by " their" virus?

Magic Bullet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885151)

Our Dutch friends don't understand the non-medical meaning of a magic bullet. Yet.

Do you *really* want to own this? (1)

pla (258480) | about a year ago | (#43885161)

At the center of the dispute is a Dutch laboratory that claims all rights to the genetic sequence of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus

You fuckers want the rights to it? Granted!

...With one catch - You bear criminal responsibility for every single person who dies from it once you stake your claim to it. I would add "moral" responsibility as well, but hell, a retarded 2YO could have explained that one to you.

If I own an aggressive dog, I have liability for its actions. Why should we treat the absolute lowest of the low, who let people die to make a buck, any better?

Nevermind the epidemic (1)

Kohath (38547) | about a year ago | (#43885175)

whine about patents. Because whining about patents cures ... ?

People with drug patents might actually help you when you're sick. What will the anti-patent crowd do for you when you're sick? Besides trying to take away the financial incentive to cure you?

Re:Nevermind the epidemic (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43885231)

Follow you own logic. This lab is deciding who can develop a treatment, and what cut of it the Dutch lab will get. Is that your idea of a free market? They're controlling access to a virus, which will reduce the financial incentive for creating a treatment.

Re:Nevermind the epidemic (1)

the gnat (153162) | about a year ago | (#43885325)

This lab is deciding who can develop a treatment, and what cut of it the Dutch lab will get. Is that your idea of a free market? They're controlling access to a virus

No, they're not. For fuck's sake, can't any of you read the goddamn article? (Slashdot editors included.)

Re:Nevermind the epidemic (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43885401)

FTA:

impeding an effective response is a dispute over rights to develop a treatment for the virus

the Dutch team has not patented the viral genetic sequence but has placed it under an MTA, which requires sample recipients to contractually agree not to develop products or share the sample without the permission of Erasmus and the Fouchier laboratory

Re:Nevermind the epidemic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885437)

Actually according to Bloomberg they have patented the virus.
"Dutch scientists who took out a patent on the novel coronavirus that’s killed 22 people since emerging in Saudi Arabia last year defended the move after the Saudi Health Ministry said the patent was hindering the fight against the outbreak."

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-23/coronavirus-found-in-saudi-patented-by-dutch-scientists.html

as does the New Scientist

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23593-saudis-say-dutch-patent-on-mers-virus-hampers-research.html

and while this has nothing to do with the Saudi virus, it seems like the CDC is claiming ownership of the SARS virus.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3076748/ns/health-infectious_diseases/t/scientists-race-patent-sars-virus/#.UaprRWTf_bo

So my question stands, What right do these organizations have to apply for a patent or claim ownership. They neither invented nor discovered the virus. So how can they claim ownership?

I guess if I ever contract SARS I will sue the CDC as according to them they are responsible.

Re:Nevermind the epidemic (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#43885461)

Quoting in full because I don't have mod points today and the PP shouldn't languish at score 0.

Actually according to Bloomberg they have patented the virus. "Dutch scientists who took out a patent on the novel coronavirus that’s killed 22 people since emerging in Saudi Arabia last year defended the move after the Saudi Health Ministry said the patent was hindering the fight against the outbreak."

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-23/coronavirus-found-in-saudi-patented-by-dutch-scientists.html

as does the New Scientist

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23593-saudis-say-dutch-patent-on-mers-virus-hampers-research.html

and while this has nothing to do with the Saudi virus, it seems like the CDC is claiming ownership of the SARS virus.

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3076748/ns/health-infectious_diseases/t/scientists-race-patent-sars-virus/#.UaprRWTf_bo

So my question stands, What right do these organizations have to apply for a patent or claim ownership. They neither invented nor discovered the virus. So how can they claim ownership?

I guess if I ever contract SARS I will sue the CDC as according to them they are responsible.

Re:Nevermind the epidemic (1)

the gnat (153162) | about a year ago | (#43885897)

the Saudi Health Ministry said the patent was hindering the fight against the outbreak.

I repeat: they have not provided a shred of proof for this allegation. Based on everything else I've read, the Saudis probably have grounds to have the patent overturned on the basis that Erasmus obtained the material illegally, and as a national government, they can do pretty much anything they want if there is a genuine public health emergency. Everything points to the Saudis being unhappy that a) the research is now out of their control (and remember, this is a government that really, really likes to control everything that happens inside its borders, unusually so by modern standards), and b) someone else might make money off it. But complaining about this to the WHO probably wouldn't get as much sympathy as if they claim that the Dutch IP claim is preventing a cure.

A thought... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885287)

Saudi Arabia better hope they NEVER run out of oil..

I really doubt the world would put up with their insane head up their own stupid ass antics otherwise..

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885371)

How the hell can you patent a virus? You did not create it, and the dutch certainly did not discover it so on what grounds do they have to apply for a patent?

Read the Cited Article to the End (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885471)

Before critiquing the /. article or subject, read the citation through to the end. Read the information about the Indonesian case, and the reason Indonesia refused to share, and the legal solution, which are among the reasons Saudi Arabia is objecting.

Western investors in pharmaceuticals want money. They want patents and agreements that will guarantee them profits from cures for epidemics. They don't give a damn about the people who die of the diseases, particularly if those people could not have afforded to be customers contributing to making their investments profitable. The Indonesians, and the Saudis, want to put the lives of their "throw-away" citizens (third-worlders, Muslims, riff-raff, you know) ahead of the profits curing only those who can afford the cure and sucking off funds of charities to pay the margins their patents etc. add on, may provide them.

Who are the villains, the legal manipulators for profit western pharmaceuticals and their investors, who want to force themselves in as middle-men, or the local health professionals who refuse to release samples, while infected people die, to assure that cures, when they become available, will be affordable (and more difficult for Machiavellians to manipulate for 'real-politic purposes?

just had this nice idea: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885687)

you or any company patent the virus and then sue it if it tries to go on replicating itself in any cell on earth without your permission. This would be the end to all illnesses caused by viruses, right? oh, I guess I have to hurry up to patent this idea! Do I get the Nobel prize for medicine for this breakthrough?? I'm a genius, right?

Not very dangerous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43885717)

30 people wooooo.

Copyright on a map? (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about a year ago | (#43885811)

Isn't this like how you can't copyright a map? You can protect your version of the map but if someone else makes a map of the same area they will end up with the same map. This is why map makers put little errors in their maps so as to prove that it is a copy of their effort and not just another map.

I hope the Dutch lose because this would set a terrible precedent in that nothing should get in the way of curing epidemics. If it is a truly bad epidemic hours can be the difference in a an order or orders of magnitude of deaths.

OT: what's the term for introducing those errors? (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about a year ago | (#43886707)

map makers put little errors in their maps so as to prove that it is a copy of their effort

Does anyone know that that is called? I thought I knew a real word for it once... maybe industry jargon and not a "dictionary" word?

Maybe someone in the map biz can educate us.

Nuke the saudis before they spread pandemic (1)

Maj Variola (2934803) | about a year ago | (#43885985)

If someone gets their panties in a bundle because a pandemic-capable bug was shipped from their neighborhood, perhaps we should just fumingate their population to prevent its spread. Or, you could join the international community of science. Your choice.

let them own genes if they want. (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a year ago | (#43886715)

. ..under the condition that they are responsible for any damages caused by 'their' gene.

Patent are not holy cows (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#43886719)

I do not get it. Patent are only national protection, and one would have to file in every juridiction to get a world wide protection. And a sovereign nation can decide to make some patent invalid, the only thing that could refrain it from doing so is WTO's TRIPS, but not everyone signed it, and even for the nations who did, it has provisions to trump patents because of the general interest. See TRIPS article 27.2:

Members may exclude from patentability inventions, the prevention within their territory of the commercial exploitation of which is necessary to protect ordre public or morality, including to protect human, animal or plant life or health or to avoid serious prejudice to the environment

So where is the problem?

Sue them for criminal liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43886775)

Sue them for criminal liability for anyone who gets sick from the illness. If they want to own the disease, then make them criminally liable for it.

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