FC: How to patent a Harvard scientist (his parents' idea)

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Sun Jun 09 2002 - 23:16:27 PDT

  • Next message: Declan McCullagh: "FC: MPAA tries to shut down illicit movie site -- based in Iran"

    Date: Fri, 7 Jun 2002 08:25:18 -0700
    To: Dave Farber <daveat_private>, Matthew Gaylor <freemattat_private>,
        Declan McCullagh <declanat_private>
    From: Jim Warren <jwarrenat_private>
    Subject: FWD: [Random-bits] Patenting the Harvard Scientist
    Perhaps this will lead the next step in patent lunacy/excess, now that 
    they're happy to issue patents genetic information and processes, and even 
    for thought processes (when in the form of business activities or computer 
    Even if this particular creation was accidental, intention or effort to 
    invent something is not a requirement for such government-granted 
    monopolies.  There are endless examples of other completely unplanned, 
    completely unexpected accidents that were patented and thus monopolized for 
    However ... this particular application will obviously be rejected -- after 
    all, it's not filed by a gluttonous, possession-driven corporation.
    (And ... if I [or perhaps my parents] "invent" a disease or bacterium -- or 
    genetic sequence -- why should a pharmaceutical cartel or medical 
    conglomerate be permitted to patent it ... when my parents or I created the 
    original/prior art?! ;-)
    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: <Scott.Adamat_private>
    >To: <loveat_private>
    >Sent: Friday, June 07, 2002 10:00 AM
    >Subject: Patenting the Harvard Scientist
    >The article below is from 357 Magazine www.gwilly.ca/357 a unique
    >publication where every article is exactly 357 words long (including title,
    >excluding by-line).  It stems from the recent hearing at the Supreme Court
    >of Canada where Harvard sought Canadian patents for the infamous Harvard
    >Mouse. I thought you might appreciate it.
    >Patenting the Harvard Scientist
    >By adam scott
    >In a new phase of the battle to patent living organisms, the parents of one
    >of the Harvard scientists credited with creating the Harvard Mouse are
    >seeking a patent on their son. Says the mother, "clearly our Harvard Son
    >meets the test of being a composition of matter that is novel, useful and
    >not obvious."
    >While refusing to divulge all the details of the process used to create
    >their son, the scientist's parents maintain that it is unique. "Only one
    >specific pattern of spouse selection, intercourse and parenting could have
    >resulted in the creation of a son so unique and talented as to develop the
    >Harvard Mouse."
    >Lawyers opposed to the patenting of life forms have argued that the Patent
    >Act was never intended to apply to living organisms. While it is true that
    >the Patent Act of 1869, could not have foreseen the invention of a scientist
    >who would invent a genetically modified mouse, Chief Justice McLachlin has
    >pointed out that the Patent Act, by definition, is designed to address
    >events that cannot be foreseen.
    >Harvard is attempting to patent not only the process of creating the
    >H-Mouse, but the mouse itself and all offspring that contain the unique
    >cancer-prone gene. Mirroring this argument, the parents allege that they are
    >entitled not only to ownership of the process used to create their son, but
    >also the son himself and all his offspring that display an aptitude for
    >genetic manipulation. The grandchildren have become desperately afraid and
    >assert that their main interests are music and sports.
    >Harvard's legal brief on the mouse case, explains that they are attempting
    >not to patent mice as they exist in nature, but a particular mouse, which
    >would not have been created without considerable investment of time and
    >money. Similarly, the scientist's parents are seeking a patent not for
    >boy-children as they exist in nature, but for one particular type of
    >boy-child that would not exist without their own considerable investment.
    >If they prove ownership of their son, the parents will remove him from
    >Harvard and use him for yard work, another area where he has demonstrated
    POLITECH -- Declan McCullagh's politics and technology mailing list
    You may redistribute this message freely if you include this notice.
    To subscribe to Politech: http://www.politechbot.com/info/subscribe.html
    This message is archived at http://www.politechbot.com/
    Declan McCullagh's photographs are at http://www.mccullagh.org/
    Like Politech? Make a donation here: http://www.politechbot.com/donate/

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Jun 10 2002 - 05:06:29 PDT