Patients, Patents, and the Supreme Court

Does allowing companies to patent human genes mean more medical progress, or less?

ACLU Protest in front of Supreme CourtCredit: ACLUShould human genes be patentable? That's the central question in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., a case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this week. The lawsuit was organized by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of several professional organizations that have long opposed such patents, which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been granting since the 1980s. Patent law is arcane, and arguments about it can sound a lot like haggling over the number of angels that can dance on the head of pin. But in this case, it is tens of billions of dollars in research, products, and profits that are doing the dancing.

At the issue are several patents related to two breast cancer genes, BRCA 1 and BRCA 2. In the 1990s, researchers at Myriad identified and isolated two genes in which certain mutations dramatically increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The company then offered a product, called BRACAnalysis, which compares patients' BRCA genetic sequences to the company's reference sequence to identify the mutations. Armed with the knowledge that they are at greater risk, patients can then engage in protective actions ranging from more frequent mammograms and ultrasound examinations to having their breasts and ovaries surgically removed. The court must decide if Myriad is merely using products of nature (which cannot be patented) or if it has invented a "new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof" (which can).

Why do the plaintiffs want to invalidate human gene patents? As a matter of public policy, it's mainly because they believe such patents impede rather than speed valuable research and development. (The Association for Molecular Pathology, for example, cites estimates that "about 20 percent of the human genome is under patent," and argues that "scientific research has been delayed, limited or even shut down due to concerns about gene patents.") As a matter of law, the groups argue that a gene isolated by Myriad conveys the same genetic information as a gene found in a human body, and that it thus "represents the same laws of nature as genomic DNA." Myriad, the ACLU concludes, "is in effect arguing that it may obtain a patent on a product or law of nature itself if it finds a new use for it."

In its brief, Myriad counters that no one would contest a patent on a new chemical that could be applied to a blood or tissue sample to detect a higher cancer risk. "That is what Myriad's patented molecules are," the company claims, "and they were never available to the world until Myriad's scientists applied their faculties to a previously undistinguished mass of genetic matter in order to identify, define, and create the isolated DNA molecules."

Who's right? It's illuminating to consider how the patent office applies the product of nature doctrine to issuing a patent. In one training example, the office notes that exposure to sunlight is known to affect some people's moods. If someone tried to patent a method for treating seasonal affective disorder that amounts to exposing a patient to sunlight, the application would be rejected, since it "is no more than the law of nature plus telling people to 'apply it.'" Nor would the office issue a narrower patent on exposing the patient to a source of white light, since the sun is also a source of white light. But it would patent a treatment in which a patient is precisely positioned for a specified length of time near a white light source from which ultra-violet rays have been filtered. In fact, just such a treatment was patented in 2002.

So are Myriad's molecules more like advising a patient to sit in the summer sunlight or more like creating a contraption that exposes him to white light in the depths of winter? I am not patent lawyer, but it seems to me that gene patents are more like the latter—that the isolated DNA molecules are the result of human ingenuity and are composed, manufactured, and improved, not merely discovered or found.

The public policy issue raises a different question: Do gene patents promote progress, or do they impede discovery and invention? In its brief, Myriad makes the uncontested point that since its BRCA patents were issued, 18,000 researchers have conducted studies involving those genes, published over 8,000 scientific papers, and conducted over 130 clinical trials. That's a lot of progress, and the evidence that the patents have prevented still more progress from occurring is slim. In a recent, comprehensive analysis, Christopher Holman, a professor at the University of Missouri–Kansas City Law School, deflates the claim that 20 percent of human genes are patented and that this constitutes a roadblock to newer genetic technologies, such as testing based on whole genome sequencing.

The claim that 20 percent of human genes are patented comes from a single article in Science magazine in 2005. The Science authors assumed that the mention of a gene's DNA sequence in patent claim was equivalent to patenting the gene, but in most cases that actually isn't so. What's more, sequencing a whole genome does not require the use of isolated genes. It involves running a person's DNA through a detection device to determine the specific order of DNA base pairs; these data are then compared with publicly available studies describing the various effects of the identified sequences on an individual's health and well-being. In very few instances would preexisting patents prevent this.

Holman concludes that "there is no empirical support for the widespread notion that 20 percent of human genes are patented in manner that would be inevitably infringed" by modern genetic testing technologies. In fact, whole genome sequencing will soon be cheaper than diagnostic tests, such as Myriad's, that depend on patented genes.

In the meantime, declaring human gene patents invalid would likely slow progress in the creation of new medical treatments. As Holman notes, the "biotechnology industry has invested heavily in life-saving products based on the expectation that effective patent protections are available for innovations in this field." During oral arguments, Justice Antonin Scalia asked the highly relevant question of the ACLU attorney: "Why would a company incur massive investment if it—if it cannot patent?" The lawyer lamely responded that scientists might do such work "because they're curious," "because they want a Nobel Prize," and because they would "get enormous recognition." Scalia drily replied, "Well, that's lovely." Scalia asked the right question; for the sake of future patients' well-being, let's hope a majority of the court comes up with the right answer.

Disclosure: I am still a card-carrying member of the ACLU.

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  • Tony||

    Government-granted monopolies on the use of human DNA. Such a libertarian conundrum.

  • Copernicus||

    From the article:

    "The court must decide if Myriad is merely using products of nature (which cannot be patented) or if it has invented a "new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof" (which can)."

    This seems to be the question. Is someone actually able to patent a human gene? Something they didn't create?

  • forestgombosi39||

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  • ||

    Yes Tony, libertarians actually think about these difficult issues instead of blindly swearing allegiance to whatever the state decides.

  • ||

    Please, just ignore it. It hateses that the most.

  • Tony||

    I'd think libertarians would err on the side against government-granted monopolies to the exploitation of natural phenomena.

    But then there's Ron Bailey, who Like Scalia apparently can't fathom a motivation for doing scientific research beyond making some company a profit. Nor does he adequately explain why he sides with those arguing for government-guns-in-your-face force to erect a special privilege for companies that isolate genes in order to advance a social good. I agree the issue is somewhat complicated, I just don't see why it should be for you guys, for whom most issues are exceedingly simple.

    BTW, if profit is the only plausible motivation for doing scientific research, is it not possible that companies might want to patent biomedical processes for the purpose of stopping research on them? There's a lot of profit in treating people, but the profits stop once people are cured. We'd better hope there are other, higher motivations out there. At least we can acknowledge that using government guns to grant a patent ought to serve a social purpose and not merely a profit-based one for individual companies. That would be abuse of the system.

  • $park¥||

    Did you have a pasta strainer on your head when you typed all that? Because in my mind you did and it would be really cool if you actually did.

  • Pro Libertate||

    One of the meshy metal ones, or the plastic ones with the big holes?

  • Zeb||

    One of the sheet metal ones with round holes. At least that's what I'm picturing.

  • $park¥||

    Yes, that's the one.

  • ||

    You've got this all wrong Tony.

    IMO, a lot of the opposition to patenting genes has nothing to do with scientific research or utilitarian calculation of the greater good. It's just a disgust reaction to the thought of something in your body being "owned".

    Libertarians START by getting over the disgust reaction. We don't necessarily end there. There are rational arguments to be made on both sides of the issue from a libertarian perspective.

    We just don't start from the idiotic position of " Patenting genes? Eeew! Mad scientists playing God!!!"

  • Irish||

    BTW, if profit is the only plausible motivation for doing scientific research, is it not possible that companies might want to patent biomedical processes for the purpose of stopping research on them? There's a lot of profit in treating people, but the profits stop once people are cured.

    That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard, Tony. This is like the conspiracy theory from 1970s pot heads that there was an engine that ran on water, but GM wouldn't let them release it because PROFITSSSSSSSS. If someone came up with a cure for cancer, in the aggregate people might make less money on cancer because all the companies currently offering treatments would be obsolete. But the people who actually cured the disease would become so unbelievably rich that the very thought that they might purposefully not cure a disease is utterly absurd.

  • Tony||

    Why would they become unbelievably rich? A Nobel prize isn't worth that much, and once you cure everyone of cancer, you're done making money, assuming society would be cold-hearted enough to make people buy it. Why is it not plausible that companies would set priorities around treating illnesses rather than curing them? They already do it. A pharmaceutical company is in the business of selling pills, not curing people. Curing people is not profitable for anyone, which is why medical research and treatment ought not to be solely the province of the marketplace.

  • Irish||

    Oh my God. Stay with me. Let's say cancer is cured through an inoculation. That would mean that millions of people every year would buy that inoculation from you. Let's say they come up with a cure for cancer that only works after someone already develops cancer. Then every person who gets cancer will buy a drug from this company, which would literally be millions of people.

    From your logic, how do any diseases get cured? Why do companies provide prosthetic limbs when the medical industry could make more money if that person who needs prosthetic limbs just relied on a nurse his whole life?

    Honestly Tony, point me to one time an industry has refused to innovate because they thought they'd make more money with the status quo. The only examples you'll be able to find are government mandated monopolies like the old phone company and education.

    You honestly are an unbelievably paranoid human being if you believe that industries will purposefully not innovate out of a love for the status quo.

  • Tony||

    The hydrocarbon-based energy industries are culprit no. 1 when it comes to refusing to innovate for the good of humanity in favor of the highly profitable status quo--to a ludicrously antiscience extent. What are you claiming? That what's good for humans and what's profitable for entrenched industry always align? That's the more outlandish belief, it seems to me.

    I can't find info on government vs. private relative levels of funding of basic research on a cancer cure specifically (though private industry does fund much of the biomedical research in this country), but in general basic scientific research of the kind that leads to breakthroughs but not necessarily immediate profits has to be supported by the public sector.

    I'm not saying profit motive prevents advancements (someone's gonna come along and sell a prosthetic leg if nobody else is), just that it doesn't always align with the public interest, and can stand in the way of it.

  • ||

    Jesus Tony, that is lieterally INSANE.

    Companies that sell the cancer curing drgu will win in the marketplace because CONSUMERS will CHOOSE to buy the cure rather than the treatment. Are you a total economic idiot?

    This is like saying that homebuilders will deliberately choose to build houses that fall down in five years, so they can sell more houses.

    In your insane la-la-land brain, apparently pharmaceuticals have a total government granted monopoly and can prevent anyone with a cure from entering the market. That sounds more like YOUR preferred form of government than mine.

  • EdwinNJ||

    Indeed, Tony actually has good points to make sometimes when he's talking about governance generally, but he sucks with economics and this is especially idiotic

  • SKR||

    well then there is the whole patent expiration bit.

  • SKR||

    Tony, that's idiotic. If someone cured cancer and then wanted to sit on it, they would simply bury the research in a vault. If they patent it, the process is put out there for all to see. There are plenty of places in the world that don't give 2 shits about patents and they would counterfit it. Plus, the patent would expire and then you would have the generic cure for cancer.

    Do you think these things through or do you just vomit up your thoughts?

  • DJK||

    This is what you get for responding to this moron. Don't feed the troll.

  • ||

    Or blindly swearing alleigance to whatever their team believes. Signalling that they are a good soldier.

  • Ron Bailey||

    T: As you must realize all property rights (land, stocks, copyrights) are defined legally and defended by government institutions like courts, police, etc.

  • JosephK||

    Yes, but intellectual property is the only type of property that requires pervasive and extensive intrusion by the state due to the fuzzy boundaries around particular inventions/creations, due to the almost universal occurrence of simultaneous discoveries/inventions, and due to the inevitable uncertainties and ambiguities in patent law.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    I dunno. Water rights can get pretty crazy. In CA, there were real bullets-flying battles over water.

  • some guy||

    Water rights are another thing that seem anti-libertarian. I understand why people get upset about them, but most people aren't libertarians.

  • SKR||

    depends on whether you are talking first apropriation or riparian water rights.

  • some guy||

    I admit I haven't read much about the libertarian approach to "intellectual property", but I always assumed that the default position would be "nay".

    I'm interested to see any libertarian reasons for defending the existence of intellectual property.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Well, there's a first time for everything, I suppose. Tony actually makes a good point. I like the idea of inventors having control of their inventions, but if the price of that is a state, well, then count me out. Nothing is worth that. Plus, Kinsella makes a good argument.

  • Copernicus||

    I'd like to free her jeans, if you know what I mean. heh heh heh.
    I'll be in my bunk.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    You must have low standards.

  • NeonCat||

    He is merely obeying his DNA's "desire" to spread as widely as possible.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Wealth of accumulation versus wealth of selection.

    Actually, I could run with that hypothesis some time. I just might.

  • Copernicus||

    Give me a break.
    I've been waiting a long time to use the "I'll be in my bunk" line.
    Sometimes when a guy's desperate, well, you know...

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Puns aren't *that* exciting!

    Are they?

  • Copernicus||

    The pun was just the vehicle I used to get to the *pun*ch line.

    Owww. that's gotta hurt.

  • ||

    How the fuck can you patent a gene expression? It's an observed pattern. Can I patent other patterns that I observe? Can I patent my observation that Michael Bay movies are terrible, or that deep dish pizza lovers tend to be pedophiles?

  • Copernicus||

    " Can I patent other patterns that I observe? Can I patent my observation that Michael Bay movies are terrible, or that deep dish pizza lovers tend to be pedophiles?"

    Yes. Yes. No (It would be yes, except deep dish is so damn superior. You can't patent a falsity, that would make it patently false)

  • ||

    So you admit that you're a pedophile, then. You and ProL.

  • ||

    Deepdish is fine, but it isn't pizza, it's more like a casserole.

  • ||

    You know, Serious, I thought I could trust you, but here you are stabbing me in the back. You go on the list with ProL.

  • ||

    I find the notion of sodomy unappealing but fine if that's what you're into. Ditto for deepdish.

    For the record I prefer thin crust.

  • Being Waterboarded||

    More and more deep dish!

    Detroit style!

  • Being Waterboarded||

    Curiously, this type of pie is often served with a side of corrupt local politician, and topped with extra crispy blight.

  • robc||

    Going to a new Detroit-style place tonight. Its doing a soft opening and Im on the invite list.

  • robc||

    Im a big tent pizzaist.

  • ||

    Tomato pie, really. It can be delicious, as Lou Malnati's proves time and time again. But... not pizza.

    At least it doesn't contain mayo.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Fuck that. I am the list.

  • ||

    You're certainly at the top, ProL.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Without me to hate, you are nothing. Nothing.

  • Copernicus||

    "Deepdish is fine, but it isn't pizza, it's more like a casserole."

    I can eat it with my fingers. It's a pizza.

  • ||

    I'm fucking surrounded by pedophiles.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You know, with the years and years of pizza wars here, I don't think anyone has actually asked this question: At what point does a pizza become a deep-dish pizza? Or vice versa? In other words, if I keep piling stuff on a thin pizza, does it become a deep dish?

  • $park¥||

    You know what the real question is? Why does anyone give a single fuck what a worthless degenerate like Epi thinks about pizzas? That would be like asking Larry Flynt what he thinks of ballet.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I certainly have always considered his opposition to be an endorsement of deep-dish. I mean, it's like having Satan hate something.

  • ||

    I AM THE ALPHA AND OMEGA OF PIZZA. AND YOUR MOM.

  • robc||

    Epi lives in the place that thinks Starbucks is "coffee".

  • ||

    Why does anyone give a single fuck what a worthless degenerate like Epi thinks about pizzas?

    He is worse then a degenerate...he is a Joss Whedon fanboy.

  • forestgombosi39||

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  • ||

    At what point does a pizza become a deep-dish pizza?

    It's obvious.

    Deep dish is baked in a pizza pan with sides, IOW a pizza "dish".

    Real pizza is baked on a pizza pan (no sides).

  • Pro Libertate||

    So a "real" pizza could remain a "real" pizza if I stacked it with four inches of toppings?

  • ||

    So a "real" pizza could remain a "real" pizza if I stacked it with four inches of toppings?

    Yes, it's the crust.

  • Enough About Palin||

    Real pizza is baked on a pizza pan stone in a fucking coal-fired oven.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Coal? Pussy. Unshielded nuclear reactor or nothing.

  • ||

    Thank you, EAP, that was the correct answer. Wood-fired is better, though.

  • ||

    Real pizza is baked on a pizza pan stone in a fucking coal-fired oven.

    Agree about the stone.

  • SKR||

    i'm pretty sure a deep dish pizza is defined by well being made in a deep dish.

  • some guy||

    I can eat soup with my fingers (very slowly). That doesn't make it pizza.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Patently. False.

    *sigh*

    Somebody fetch me my tire iron.

  • Copernicus||

    I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waiter. Is this thing on? (tap tap.)

  • ||

    I thought it was great. Rarely do I laugh at puns. Usually I just smirk in an amused manner.

    Well done, Copernicus.

  • Copernicus||

    I have a much worse one near the top.

  • ||

    Those are patterns that appear naturally. You have to create your own pattern.

  • Brett L||

    After Apple patented regular expressions, I've quit asking IP theoreticals.

  • Zeb||

    Being able to patent a gene seems ridiculous. As Episiarch points out, it is patenting a pattern that can be observed in nature for comparison to other things that can be observed in nature. If that is the basis for a patent, I should be able to patent my height so that I can have a monopoly on deciding if people are taller than I am or not.

  • Copernicus||

    This analogy leaves me a little "short"

  • NeonCat||

    Procrustean prior art?

  • yonemoto||

    Disclaimer: I am against all patents, I don't think such a thing should exist.

    I think myriad's claim, which is on having a PCR product, is valid. It should be able to exercise its patent on that PCR product, which 'doesn't exist in nature'.

    Because it is a molecule patent, (and not a method patent) if someone else makes a test, that uses slightly different primers, then that would break the patent. Similarly, if someone came up a test that uses a different technology (like chip-hybridization) that doesn't involve *making a PCR product* - then that would not be covered by the patent.

    That is what the supreme court *should* rule, so naturally, it won't.

  • phandaal||

    How is this even a question? If Myriad wanted to patent their process for isolating the gene, that would be one thing, but that's not what they're doing.

    What Myriad is doing is akin to someone patenting aluminum because they've found a way to isolate it from the rocks around it.

  • Being Waterboarded||

    I dislike arguing about special classes of issues that can be defined within a broader set. In this case, the broader set is the issue of whether intellectual property is, indeed, property. I stick to the premise that IP should not be held as property since its use/consumption (by those other than the patent holder) does not violate the NAP.

    Thus, as gene sequencing falls under the broader set of IP issues, I believe that, to be consistent, it should not be protected as property of the sequencer.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Within the context of intellectual property, however, it has to be decided whether DNA should be patent-able.

    Think of it like this: something can be internally logical and still be irrational in its base facts. Since combating IP isn't going to go anywhere fast, focusing on making the system as is more logical and just is a good use of time.

  • Being Waterboarded||

    My point is that we deflect from the real issue if we don't consistently make the caveat - immediately - that IP, itself, is a flawed concept, prior to discussing whether DNA should be patentable.

    I am interested in converting as many individuals as I can to libertariansim. My experience is that most people, once they read such an argument (e.g., about patenting DNA), would be likely to simply accept that IP is accepted by everyone as logical and moral.

    I suggested to someone recently that I did not agree with any IP laws, and they were flabbergasted.

  • yonemoto||

    see what I wrote above.

  • robc||

    My point is that we deflect from the real issue if we don't consistently make the caveat - immediately - that IP, itself, is a flawed concept, prior to discussing whether DNA should be patentable.

    I agree.

    You sound like me on gay marriage threads.

  • yonemoto||

    yeah, why is it that I am always arguing like that - I don't believe in state-sponsored marriage at all, but we should let gays marry. I don't believe in patents, but (some aspects of) the myriad patent are valid (but it's a stupid patent).

    Damn this 'being a libertarian' thing.

  • ||

    Could someone be sued for infringement if their child was born with the patented combination? Is the mother the infringer and the father contributory?

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    That mutation. You didn't make that.

  • ||

    Doesn't matter. If it meets the restrictions of the claims and it's not licensed, it's infringement.

  • $park¥||

    Maybe I'm reading this wrong and Ron can clear it up if I am.

    Myriad detected a gene mutation which can lead to an increased cancer risk.
    Myriad created a product/service which can be used to analyze the gene for the mutation.
    Myriad wants to patent their product/service.
    The Association for Molecular Pathology says if Myriad patents their product/service then they (the AMP) won't be able to analyze the gene for mutation using some other method.

    Do I have that right? If so, is the AMP trying to get its hands on Myriad's creation? Is Myriad really patenting the gene or just a way to detect a mutation in it?

  • ||

    Is Myriad really patenting the gene or just a way to detect a mutation in it?

    This. Are they really trying to patent the gene they found, or merely the way they found and isolated it.

    For example, I could patent a type of telescope that could look at the structure of stars far away. But I wouldn't be able to patent the inner workings of the star and declare anyone that uses that information is violating my patent on the star itself.

  • Copernicus||

    The more I read, the more it seems to be much ado about nothing.

    Analogy:
    Someone builds a mousetrap.
    That someone then tries to patent mice so that no one else can build a better one.

    Come on Bailey, earn your salary and clear this up!

  • yonemoto||

    they are patenting neither. It's not a method patent, it's a molecule patent. In the process of detecting the mutation, you make a certain DNA sequence (which is isolated from the context of the entire genome by amplification of a certain sequence by repeated copying between two "priming" regions), and is a molecule. I think this is valid, since said molecule does not exist in nature. However, it would be trivial for someone to create a slightly different molecule by appending DNA bases, or slightly shifting the region being amplified by changing the 'priming' regions. It may be that the regulatory approval for such a modified test as a diagnostic (which has to go through an FDA gauntlet) that is likely to be difficult to obtain.

    There are other ways of conducting the test - that do not require making this amplified, isolated DNA, as well, and those should not be covered under the patent (I don't know if myriad is claiming them, but they are dumb if they are, unless the supremes are even dumber).

  • yonemoto||

    I guess I should say that I think the AMP is wrong in general *one could* analyze the gene using a different manner. It may be that the AMP could not, because of overly high regulatory burden, etc.

  • ||

    " I think this is valid, since said molecule does not exist in nature."

    I think you're referring to PCR , right?

    Methods of detecting mutations generally involve amplification of a wild type allele and then comparing it's weight/density to the amplified copies of the mutation.

    I'm pretty sure there are several ways of detecting BRCA mutations without Myriad's process; they just might not be as efficient.

  • Pro Libertate||

    One huge problem with patents, aside from them being granted when obvious and not novel too frequently, is the term. Some things simply do not need twenty years of monopoly.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Varying terms for patents wouldn't be the worst of ideas.

    Could you apply for a different patent term, or would it be determined by some sort of heuristic?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I was thinking more random number generator: "Sir, your company has been granted for [flips switch] 4.721 years."

  • Copernicus||

    I would be interested in applying for a patent term pattern patent please.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Maybe I'm going to sound like I'm counting angels on the head of a pin, but couldn't the company get around this by patenting the knowledge of which particular pattern is associated with breast and ovarian cancer? It would seem much more plausible to claim that that is patentable information.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Hmmm...wouldn't it just be easier to make it a trade secret? Less protection, but better ethically.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I kind of agree, but I wouldn't be surprised if they had to disclose that information in the regulatory process to get approval.

  • yonemoto||

    yes, and furthermore, it wasn't even discovered by them.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I was going to suggest that, but I don't think it would work, because it would likely have to be disclosed too widely.

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  • Enough About Palin||

    I hate to be the one to break the news top you, but your mother just died of a drug overdose.

  • ||

    So your mom makes that much from accepting people's DNA over a webcam? Not bad.

  • forestgombosi39||

    If you think Richard`s story is nice, , four weaks-ago my mom basically also made $4739 grafting a 20 hour week in their apartment and they're best friend's mom`s neighbour done this for 8-months and got a cheque for over $4739 part-time on their computer. the instructions from this site http://www.wow65.com
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  • Being Waterboarded||

    I did think Richard's story was nice... I'm really disappointed to find out it doesn't compare to your mom's - which was so good you had to post it twice.

  • Being Waterboarded||

    Hmmm... grafting marijuana to potatoes?

  • Enough About Palin||

    And she got the drugs from Richard, who is no going top be spending a long, long time ion federal prison.

  • ||

    When was the human genome mapped?

    like 20 years ago?

    When do patents expire?

    after 20 years?

    We should have simply allowed the genes to be patented back then.

  • ||

    They didn't know which genes did what back then. We still are finding mutations and wild type variations of human haplogroup genomes today.

  • Luke6345||

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  • DenverJay||

    Yeah patents on intellectual property is kinda tricky. Thank the spaghetti monster nobody patented fire, or the wheel, or planting crops. OTH, (throwing copyrights in there with patents), I would miss Cake if they didn't feel it was worth their time to make music, or Atari if they didn't make Pac-Man...
    Of course, patents and copyrights don't work 100% anyway, see China and hardware, USSR and nukes, piratebay, etc.
    My guess is that true innovation would find a way to get paid anyway. I know that there are bands and authors now who are experimenting with free distribution models, although I have no clue how such models work.
    BTW, the favoritism shown Disney in this regard is wrong. Their copyrights should have ran out long ago. I guess that is a good example of cronyism? Or is it just favoritism? Ole Walt was a nasty anti-Semite anyway.

  • caroljonathan||

    up to I looked at the check which was of $6352, I did not believe that my friend woz like they say really receiving money in there spare time from there computar.. there neighbour has done this 4 only twenty three months and as of now repayed the morgage on there mini mansion and got themselves a Car. this is where I went,
    http://www.big76.com

  • LoneSnark||

    The local burger joint doesn't have a patent on selling burgers, yet they manage to turn a profit. Even if a business is denied patent protections for their innovation, they will still profit through trade secrets or at least first mover protections. Sure, maybe everyone will run off to copy them, but it will take them time.

  • quincy_85||

    upto I looked at the bank draft of $9755, I accept that...my... mom in-law was truley receiving money in their spare time from their laptop.. there sisters roommate haz done this 4 only about 11 months and just now took care of the loans on there place and purchased a new Chevrolet Corvette. read more at, http://www.wow92.com

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