By Donald Zuhn --
A survey commissioned by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) shows that 89% of respondents believe patents provide the protection, time, and funding researchers to work on major technological discoveries, and therefore, are a "good thing." The survey also showed that while 51% respondents had reservations about DNA-based patents, those respondents could support them because such patents allow biotech companies to work on treatments and cures for deadly diseases.
The results of the survey were summarized in the December issue of BIO's e-newsletter BIOtech NOW. The survey, which was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, assessed the views of 400 "elite" voters, which were defined as voters having a college degree, a household income of more than $75,000, and who closely follow current events.
According to the article in BIOtech NOW, the survey highlighted the need for DNA patent proponents to explain to the public that:
• further research can still take place during the life of the patent;
• when the patent expires, it's freely available to the public;
• the opposition has already inserted "gene patents" and "human gene patents" into the vernacular of this debate, terms that produce the negative reactions;
• it would be helpful to adopt alternative terms, such as "genome sequence patents," "DNA-based patents" or "DNA patents."