Progress, and Applications
of the Human Genome Project
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Human Genome Program
Human Genome News Archive Edition
Human Genome News, January-June 1997; 8:(3-4)
The Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) released a statement in May appealing for a change in international patent policies to encourage fast release and free availability of DNA sequencing data in the international Human Genome Project. The statement asks for a grace period to file for a patent after announcing a discovery, a policy already in effect in the United States.
HUGO also urged the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to rescind its position on granting patents for gene fragments called ESTs. In February, PTO Deputy Director Lawrence Goffney was quoted as saying that PTO decided to grant patents on ESTs based on their usefulness as probes, even through the biological function of a gene fragment may be unknown. Researchers who merely identify the fragment may thus have a prior claim when other uses of the fragment --based on its biological function--are identified in the future.
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