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November 22, 2011



So much for "harmonizaton," even in the area of patent-eligibiity. And have a very nice Thanksgiving holiday!

Kevin: "But it can be, and rightly should be, feared by those interested in continued prosperity and contributions to human health and well-being by American inventors."

I'm very interested in the "continued prosperity" of most of the world's citizens but it's fair to say that on a scale of 1 to 100, where 100 is a "very meaningful impact", this EP case ranks about a 2, at least as far as the US is concerned. Probably a 3 as far as the EP is concerned.

I don't see anything about the UK decision or its impact on the US that frightens me in the least.

But another decade of forced "austerity", high unemployment, cutbacks to social programs which help poor people, and more handouts to failed banks and so-called "job creators"? That's something for citizens of both the UK and the US to be afraid of. Patents are utterly irrelevant to addressing the issue of "continued prosperity" for the vast majority of the citizens of these countries. Maybe you were addressing those privileged members of the population whose wealth depends on the existence of certain types of patents?

Dear BOB:

By "prosperity" I mean the fact that since 1980 millions of people (and not just "those privileged members of the population whose wealth depends on the existence of certain types of patents") have prospered from the benefits of biotechnology. There is insufficient room here to list all the illnesses for which biotech has had a positive effect, and what is to be feared is that misguided reliance on "morality" (anyone's) should make one more person suffer one more day longer than necessary. I would hope you would agree that steering the ship to miss the iceberg is a better course than rearranging the deck chairs after impact; my position is that decisions like Europe's for hESCs and the impending gene patenting decision by our Supreme Court could provide just the right incentives for investors to fund the latest iDevice rather than the latest cure.

Humanity tried "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs" as a principle for running a society, and it didn't turn out so well. Like it or not, somebody is going to make money bringing new therapies to market, but without it there will be no new therapies. Which I think is something to be feared.

Thanks for the comment.

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