What’s At Stake in Monsanto’s Latest Legal Headache

Last month, the Public Patent Foundation (PPF) asked the Supreme Court to hear its case challenging the validity of Monsanto’s seed patents.  If this narrative sounds familiar, that’s because it is; the case again pits the PPF and farmers against the biotech giant much like the Supreme Court case last term, Bowman v. Monsanto. While Bowman addressed critical issues of patent law raised by the self-replicating nature of transgenic seeds, the current petition in Organic Continue Reading →

The Legal Implications of Individual Genome Sequencing

Many people are ancestry enthusiasts, inquiring into historical databases and family records to find out more about their ancestors and about themselves.  They might learn about hobbies they shared with previous generations, and gain information on traits or diseases that run in their families.  Some people take such research a step further, digging into their DNA to learn about their biological past. Gene sequencing used to be prohibitively expensive for individuals—the first whole genome sequencing Continue Reading →

A Patent that Self-Replicates

Does Patent Exhaustion apply to the sale of self-replicating seeds? On February 19, the Supreme Court heard the oral argument in Bowman v. Monsanto on the application of patent exhaustion to patented self-replicating seeds.  Under the doctrine of patent exhaustion, “the initial authorized sale of a patented item terminates all of the patent owner’s rights in that item.”  Monsanto holds a patent on a gene which makes plants resistant to glyphosate herbicides.  Farmers use the Continue Reading →

Can Assistive Technology Eliminate Disabilities?

Assistive technologies that enable an amputee to not only walk, but run and dance, are obviously incredible.  New prosthetic limbs simulate natural gait.  Brain-Computer Interfaces allow people who are completely paralyzed, “locked in,” to communicate. Enable Talk Gloves (only $75!) translate sign language to spoken words.  The recent trend of technological advancements is so remarkable—and accessible—that it may even, as one prominent roboticist boldly claims, largely eliminate disabilities during the 21st century. However, whether his Continue Reading →

Alternative Statutory Bases for Invalidating “Gene Patents”

The Supreme Court recently granted a writ of certiorari in the highly controversial case Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad. In the coming months, the Court will determine whether the genetic material claimed by Myriad’s composition patents is patentable subject matter under Section 101 of the Patent Act. The high profile case has generated a widespread debate often framed as whether genes should be patentable. To the extent that the patentability of genetic material is Continue Reading →

“More Than a Drafting Effort”: SCOTUS Strikes Down Prometheus Labs Patents

On March 20, the Supreme Court handed down their unanimous decision in the case of Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. The Court struck down Prometheus’s patents stating that, regardless of the language in the claims, they were effectively patents on a law of nature which is not allowed. The Court added that any process which recites a law of nature must have other features and limitations that “provide practical assurance that the process Continue Reading →

STLR Link Roundup – December 4, 2009

The latest on the STLR radar: Patent Docs reviews Senator Patrick Leahy’s proposals for patent reform. Third Circuit gives “Spam filter ate my filing notice” excuse a second chance, from the Technology & Marketing Blog. EFF sues to find out how the government spies on us using social networks; Indiana University students makes a Freedom of Information request to find out much the big telcos charge the government to spy on their networks, says Wired. Continue Reading →