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Subject:  AIDS Virus Receptor Patent and HGSI Date:  2/16/2000  9:20 PM
Author:  ElricSeven Number:  2485 of 25041

In case you didn't hear, Human Genome Sciences was awarded a patent to a receptor possible crucial to the treatment of HIV. Here is the news article:

Are you back? Well, good. With all the hoopla today on the new patent, I decided to take a gander. The patent number is 6,025,154 and can be found on the US Patent and Trademark Office web site:

Lets start with a little primer. A U.S. Patent gives the holder a right to exclude others from making, using or selling what is “claimed” in the patent. What is “claimed” is defined precisely by a set of consecutively numbered sentences that appear at the end of the patent. Appropriately enough, these sentences are called “claims.” Like a deed to land, the claims describe the “metes and bounds” of the patent owner's right to exclude. If all the elements (or subparts) of a claim describe something that is made, used or sold, that thing is infringing on the patent holder's rights.

Gene patents have been allowed since a landmark case in 1979 called Diamond v. Chakrabarty. Against the protest of many religious and other groups, the Supreme Court deemed genes to be patentable as long as they are “made by man.” In other words, one cannot patent a naturally occurring gene.

Gene patents are still hotly disputed, however, due to the fact that people