Originally published April 1 2010
Judge strikes fear into biotech industry with nullification of patents on human genes BRCA1
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
(NaturalNews) As NaturalNews readers already know, corporations and universities right now claim intellectual property ownership over roughly twenty percent of your genetic code. This absurdity has occurred due to bizarre operations of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office which has handed corporations intellectual property monopolies over everything ranging from human genes to animals and seeds. Monsanto's "ownership" of genetically modified seed crops, for example, was only made possible by the patent office's willingness to grant the corporation intellectual property ownership over seeds.
I have long argued that granting patents on seeds, genes and medicines is a violation of natural law. In 2007, for example, I wrote an article entitled " Corporate Greed, Intellectual Property Laws and the Destruction of Human Civilization" (http://www.naturalnews.com/022096.html) in which I argued that the granting of such patents is a threat to not just human freedom but also the future of life on earth.
What happens when corporations, for example, wish to start collecting royalties on the human genes that you are copying when you reproduce by having children? The mere act of conceiving a child makes you a patent law violator... a criminal engaged in genetic piracy under U.S. law. This may sound patently absurd, if you'll excuse the expression, but it is precisely what has been held as true under current U.S. patent law.
You can't patent things created by Mother NatureFortunately, things are beginning to shift. Earlier this week, a federal judge struck down patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. These are the genes used by many doctors to attempt to predict breast cancer risk. Of course, the very idea that genes alone can determine your cancer risk is provably false, but that's another story altogether. For the point of this story, just keep in mind that lots of women have their DNA tested for the presence of these BRCA genes in order to (they think) determine their breast cancer risk.
But one corporation called Myriad Genetics holds seven patents on these genes. Although the patents are shrouded in lawyer's language, this company essentially claims to own these genes as if it had invented them! Furthermore, this company held that the mere act of testing for these genes was a violation of their patents.
Now, a more sensible person might instantly recognize that your genes existed long before Myriad Genetics came around. Depending on your frame of belief, your genes were either created by God or by Mother Nature, and to grant monopoly IP ownership over those genes to a corporations seems absurd beyond all reason.
But no: This corporation and its lawyers argued with a straight face that they alone effectively owned your BRCA genes and that no one could even test for the presence of those genes without paying them a royalty!
United States District Court Judge Robert W. Sweet disagreed with the patents in his 152-page decision (see NY Times PDF file at http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/na... ) which strikes down seven patents formerly belonging to Myriad Genetics. This victory was achieved, in part, by the American Civil Liberties Union which helped challenge the BRCA patents last year. The ACLU argued (quite correctly, in my view) that human genes are products of nature and should never be owned by Man.
As state in a NY Times article (source below), an ACLU lawyer explained it like this: "The human genome, like the structure of blood, air or water, was discovered, not created. There is an endless amount of information on genes that begs for further discovery, and gene patents put up unacceptable barriers to the free exchange of ideas."
Striking back at biotechIf this decision stands, the resulting consequences could be hugely damaging to the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, both of which depend on government-granted monopolies (patents) to lock in their corporate profits. Biotech companies have been ramping up research on gene-based diseases for a decade or more, hoping to cash in on the genetic monopolies that would guarantee them profits for all sorts of human diseases that they could tie to "genetic disorders."
The idea that "your genes made you sick" is a very seductive (and profitable) concept for the biotech and pharmaceutical industries because it implies that patients have no role in their own health. Genes determine your future, you're told, so eating right and taking nutritional supplements is useless, they insist. Because your genes have already determined what diseases you'll get, the only thing you can do is take their patented chemicals that target those genes or their symptoms. Merely being screened for these "diseases" earns these corporations a royalty, by the way, since they owns the patents on the genes themselves.
This "Great Lie" of the biotech industry, of course, depends entirely on being able to procure intellectual property monopolies over human genes. And that's why this week's decision by judge Sweet is sending shockwaves through the biotech industry. They are now concerned that they won't be able to attract investors to develop more gene-targeted "therapies" (yeah, right) because they will no longer be granted patent monopolies through which they can make obscene profits by scaring patients into expensive gene therapies.
The greed of the corporation knows no boundsBiotech, pharmaceutical and agricultural corporations, you see, are some of the most arrogant and dangerous organizations on the planet. They believe that they alone have the right to monopolize your genes, your seeds, your food and your medicine. Anything that they don't control and profit from is attacked or destroyed. The FDA's pharma-inspired attacks on nutritional products is a great example of this monopoly profiteering in action. It's the same story with Monsanto's legal assaults on farmers who refuse to plant genetically modified seeds.
That's why these corporations will be lobbying hard to reverse this decision by judge Sweet, forcing a reversal that would lock in their monopoly ownership over genes, seeds and medicines. These corporations want to own the world and control everyone and everything in it. And while they can't necessarily own all the physical objects in the world, if they can achieve ownership over most of the intellectual property, they can come pretty close to ruling the world.
Think about it: If they own your genes, your food crops and your medicines, they effectively control virtually everything you depend on to stay alive. It's not out of the realm of possibility to suppose that in the near future, you will not be allowed to have a baby without paying royalties to the biotech corporations that "own" your human genes. Making a baby, after all, does involve copying your genes, you pirate!
That's why granting corporations over genes, seeds or medicines is so dangerous to the future of humanity: It concentrates power over the world into the hands of the few. If that sounds like Monsanto's corporate motto, that's because Monsanto is the perfect example of a company that literally seeks to control the entire world and everything in it, and if they can exploit U.S. patent law to assert that control over the people, they will almost certainly take every opportunity to do so.
Why corporations are inherently evilAllow me to share something about large corporations. Corporations have people, money, lobbyists and lots of power. But corporations do not have morals or ethics or human compassion. Corporations are granted all of the rights of the People (free speech rights, for example) and yet they have none of the compassions or sensibilities of people. Corporations consistently endanger and even sacrifice human lives in order to maximize their profits.
Want examples? Union Carbide in Bhopal, India. See the horrifying pictures of "the children of Dow's Chemicals" here: http://www.bhopal.org
Or review the story of Enron and how that company turned off power plants in California, killing senior citizens in the high heat in order to make more money selling emergency electricity back to the State of California.
Or look at the drug companies that manufacture and push deadly cholesterol and heart drugs that are killing people, even while burying the clinical trial evidence that proves those drugs to be extremely dangerous.
The list of corporate crimes against humanity is far too long to cover right here, but if you want a good overview of the situation, pick up some books by author John Perkins who wrote Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. I recently interviewed John Perkins by phone and will be posting that here on NaturalNews in the near future.
Watch this interview with John Perkins here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9QEhxypDZE
The important point here is simply this: If you grant corporations intellectual property ownership over your genes, foods, seeds and medicines, they will use that power to enslave you.
That's what corporations do: They inherently seek to create high-profit monopolies that limit consumer choice and force consumers to pay monopoly prices for all their goods and services, all to the benefit of the corporate shareholders. This simple truth is, in fact, the entire point of having a corporation in the first place: To make as much money as possibly by any means possible within the law. So if patent law grants monopolies over human genes, then it's only a matter of time before corporations will exploit that to own and dominate human reproduction involving those genes!
Patent reform is crucial to freedomThis is why I believe that judge Sweet's decision to deny patent ownership over the BRCA genes was hugely important to the future of freedom for humankind. If these intellectual property monopolies are allowed to stand, they will only grow ever more powerful and dangerous to the freedoms of populations around the world. If they are not struck down, these corporate monopolies will inevitably result in the outright enslavement of humankind to the corporatocracy -- a situation that many would agree we are dangerously close to right now.
So watch this situation carefully. You can bet that behind closed doors, judge Sweet is right now being pressured and perhaps even threatened if he does not reverse his decision. Or members of a higher court are being lobbied to overturn it for him.
One thing I've learned in my years of being the editor for NaturalNews is that corporations will do anything -- absolutely ANYTHING -- to protect their profits. This includes doing things that are far outside U.S. law and that endanger the lives of individuals or groups of people who stand in the way of a particular corporate agenda. Individual freedom has no value whatsoever in the eyes of these corporations, especially if it interferes with their profits. So send some good vibes over to judge Sweet and ask that he be protected right now for having the courage to boldly state the obvious: Corporations should not own human genes!
And don't be surprised to see the corporations in the biotech industry pulling out all the stops to try to get this decision reversed. Their very future depends on dominating humankind through legal monopolies known as patents, and anyone who threatens that profit model will be targeted by the biotech industry in more ways than one.
Sources for this story include:
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