DNA patents and scientific discovery and innovation: Assessing benefits and risks

Science and Engineering Ethics 7 (1):29-62 (2001)
Abstract
This paper focuses on the question of whether DNA patents help or hinder scientific discovery and innovation. While DNA patents create a wide variety of possible benefits and harms for science and technology, the evidence we have at this point in time supports the conclusion that they will probably promote rather than hamper scientific discovery and innovation. However, since DNA patenting is a relatively recent phenomena and the biotechnology industry is in its infancy, we should continue to gather evidence about the effects of DNA patenting on scientific innovation and discovery as well the economic, social, and legal conditions relating to intellectual property in biotechnology. We should give the free market, the courts, researchers, and patent offices a chance to settle issues related to innovation and discovery, before we seek legislative remedies, since new laws proposed at this point would lack adequate foresight and could do more harm than good. However, we should be open to new laws or regulations on DNA patents if they are required to in order to deal with some of the biases and limitations of the free market.
Keywords DNA patenting  gene patenting  intellectual property  scientific innovation and discovery  free markets
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