Comments to the Australian Senate Inquiry into Gene Patents

March 19, 2009
Joshua Sarnoff

Jonathan Kahn, Lori Andrews and I filed comments on March 18, 2009 in response to the Australian Senate’s Community Affairs Committee’s Inquiry into Gene Patents, and whether to prohibit them. The comments explain the current state of American law in regard to biotechnological discoveries -- and particularly isolated and purified genetic sequences -- and how the provision of patents on genetic technologies has and will continue to create serious problems for innovation, health care, and society at large. The comments recommend prohibiting patents on genetic sequences and other derivatives of naturally occurring materials, and certain diagnostic and other medical discoveries, specifically addresssing:

  1. the questionable need for patent rights in such discoveries;
  2. the dubious legal status of patent claims to such discoveries; and
  3. the serious harms caused by granting patents on such discoveries.
The comments are available here, along with an Appendix.

More details on the Inquiry and other submissions are available at and at


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