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Debate on Human Cloning Turns to Patents

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by mental invalid, May 17, 2002.

  1. mental invalid

    mental invalid Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: May 11, 2001 Messages: 13,050 Likes Received: 8
    Debate on Human Cloning Turns to Patents
    By ANDREW POLLACK


    he University of Missouri has received a patent that some lawyers say could cover human cloning, potentially violating a longstanding taboo against the patenting of humans.

    The patent covers a way of turning unfertilized eggs into embryos, and the production of cloned mammals using that technique. But unlike some other patents on animal cloning, this one does not specifically exclude human from the definition of mammals; indeed, it specifically mentions the use of human eggs.

    Those opposed to cloning and to patenting living things say the patent is a further sign that human life is being turned into a commodity.

    "It is horrendous that we would define all of human life as biological machines that can be cloned, manufactured and patented," said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the International Center for Technology Assessment, a Washington group that has long opposed patenting of living things and also wants to ban all human cloning.

    The patent was issued in April 2001, but attracted no attention until Mr. Kimbrell's group ran across it recently.

    Senator Sam Brownback, the Kansas Republican who has been a leading opponent of human cloning, said he intended to introduce a bill to prohibit patents on human beings and human embryos, which he said were "akin to slavery."

    "I think the patent office will appreciate having that clarity, given the applications that are coming into the patent office," Mr. Brownback said.

    That bill would be separate from a bill the senator is already sponsoring that would prohibit all human cloning. The Senate is debating how extensively to ban human cloning, but none of the bills it is considering deal with the patent issues.

    The patent also illustrates the tricky legal and ethical issues the United States Patent and Trademark Office is confronting as scientists race to develop cloning and to grow human tissues to treat disease. Mr. Kimbrell said he had found a few other patents that had been applied for but not granted that might cover human cloning.

    The United States has been more liberal than most other countries in granting patents on living things, ever since a Supreme Court decision in 1980 that allowed the patenting of a microbe genetically engineered to consume oil spills. There are patents on complete animals, like a mouse genetically engineered to be prone to cancer. There are patents on human genes and human cells. The University of Wisconsin has a patent on human embryonic stem cells, which are cells taken from human embryos that have the ability to turn into any other type of tissue.

    But the patent office has drawn the line on patenting of humans or human embryos themselves, saying it would not be constitutional. Many experts say this is because such patents would violate the 13th Amendment ban on slavery. Brigid Quinn, a spokeswoman for the patent office, said the agency was not using the 13th Amendment argument anymore but was not granting patents on humans because it had not received any guidance from Congress or the courts saying it should do so.

    The result has been that many patents that conceivably could cover humans — like on cloning animals or on genetically engineering animals to produce drugs in their milk — specifically exclude humans.

    A spokesman for the University of Missouri, Christian Basi, said it believed its patent covered human cloning because it applied to all mammals. The university has licensed the patent to BioTransplant, a Massachusetts biotechnology company that is working on creating pigs that can be used as human organ donors. But the license, Mr. Basi said, covers only the use in pigs.

    "We have absolutely no interest in using this to research humans and we will not license this technology to anyone for use in humans," Mr. Basi said, suggesting that the patent could actually help stop human cloning. "This gives us control of this particular technology so we will know that this technology will not be used in humans."

    Ms. Quinn said the patent office did not comment on individual patents but had not changed its policy of not issuing patents "drawn to humans."

    Randall S. Prather, a professor of reproductive technology at Missouri whose work was the basis for the patent, said the mention of human eggs "was put there by the attorneys and they wanted to cover all mammals."

    Charles Cohen, who wrote the patent when he was a lawyer at a St. Louis law firm, declined to comment.

    Some lawyers who have looked at the patent, No. 6,211,429, say it is not clear that it covers human cloning and that interpreting patents requires careful analysis of the patent's history. That the patent office did not appear to have problems with it could be a sign that the agency believes that the patent does not cover humans.

    "You'd have to go through line by line, word by word," said Gerald P. Dodson, a lawyer with Morrison & Foerster in Palo Alto, Calif., who read the patent and said he could not reach an immediate conclusion.

    Mr. Dodson and others noted that the specifications and examples of how the patent could be used dealt with pigs and cows.

    Even if the patent does cover human cloning, some lawyers say, it would be a stretch to say it covers humans themselves, although the abstract of the patent says it covers the "cloned products."

    But even a patent on the process of cloning humans could give the patent holder some rights over people, some lawyers said. Conceivably, for instance, the university could bar people created overseas by its cloning process from entering the country.

    "It definitely is a patent for cloning a human, and under the laws we have right now, it might actually cover the human," said Richard Warburg, a patent lawyer at Foley & Lardner in San Diego who represents Infigen, an animal cloning company.

    Dr. Rochelle Seide, a New York patent lawyer who heads the biotechnology practice at the law firm of Baker & Botts, said the lack of the nonhuman disclaimer in the Missouri patent was surprising.

    "Looking at it," Ms. Seide said, "I can see where people who are against cloning would have a big problem with it."

    Advanced Cell Technology, a company that wants to clone human embryos to obtain stem cells for disease treatments, licensed a patent from the University of Massachusetts on its method of cloning. But the patent is on only nonhuman embryos produced by the process, though it does seem to cover human cells.

    It might be difficult to draw the line on what constitutes a human. George J. Annas, professor of health law at Boston University School of Public Health, said it was unclear whether the antislavery amendment would be a basis for denying patents on human embryos because courts, in cases like those involving custody of frozen embryos, have said an embryo is not a person.
     
  2. Are2

    Are2 Guest

    the almighty dollar!
     
  3. SPLINTER

    SPLINTER Guest

    has any human been cloned??

    if not, when it happend i think science will have synthecized(sp?) pure evil.

    if nature (god, evolution, what ever you like) created us and we have turned on nature and destroyed it then how can we expect the creations of man to act in the future. slight deformities that will not be noticed will be a part of every clone is what i believe. and these slight deformities will lead to speciation in which the clonew will no longer be true HomoSapiens but a new form of Homos(laughing is good for the soul)
    that will inturn destroy its creators like weve destroyed nature.
     
  4. suburbian bum

    suburbian bum 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Jan 30, 2001 Messages: 14,673 Likes Received: 3
    cloning is stupid, there is no need for it.
     
  5. Big Bruno

    Big Bruno Senior Member

    Joined: Oct 8, 2001 Messages: 2,472 Likes Received: 70
    who cares we are all gonna die.
     
  6. ASER1NE

    ASER1NE Veteran Member

    Joined: Oct 15, 2001 Messages: 7,577 Likes Received: 2
    people need to relax and take a step back , who really cares whether cloning humans is good or bad , its not like cloned humans are born fully mature and can lift 10000 pounds , they are/will be babies , tiny fragile babies that will wont even be concerned about anything other than the playground for about 10 years .

    its also not as if an entire race of clones will rise up and take over the earth .firstly , only a handful of doctors on the planet can accomplish it , you cant go to 7-11 and get a do-it-yourslef kit . Cloning is more about science than anything else , and what cloning can do for research medicine etc , than it is about creating an exact replica of hitler . at WORST , the cloning of humans will be a just another phase in our history , like hot pants .a few babies are born , big deal, theres no way it would get so out of control that it becomes a problem . any and all governments will see to that , they'd pass laws and have ppl 'removed' so quickly you wouldnt even notice .

    ASER/hasagriponrealityoner
     
  7. SPLINTER

    SPLINTER Guest

    yeah i like to scare people tho. but who knows it can happen. maybe the whole govt is actually a bunch of clones and the govt is way ahead of what we think is top notch science. thats why there so wierd.

    i just want to know how we crossed an Alien with a Nightowl then crossed it with an already mutated Ninja Rat?!?!?!?!?

    genetics,shmenetics.
     
  8. el barto

    el barto Elite Member

    Joined: Oct 14, 2001 Messages: 2,627 Likes Received: 1
    cloning is cool didnt u see star wars episode 2????
     
  9. When

    When 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: May 4, 2000 Messages: 10,294 Likes Received: 3
    shh! your supposed to keep it on the downlow
     
  10. Zack Morris

    Zack Morris Veteran Member

    Joined: Jun 23, 2001 Messages: 9,728 Likes Received: 4
    this is the bad part of the mapping of the human genome...We have learned to read the bueprints of how humans are made and we are now ablew tp write our own with fewer "mistakes". People have the tendency to try and get at much power as possible and what is more powerful that creating a life? We are now our own gods capable of producing a manufactured factory built human.

    I am not surprised by this, and to be honest not really as disgusted as i should be. I can in no way see justification for this but I can't really make a valid argument against given my personal beliefs of life, a higher power, and why/how we got here.
     
  11. uncle-boy

    uncle-boy Guest

    i say clone da fuckah.
     
  12. OPIUM3

    OPIUM3 Senior Member

    Joined: Apr 14, 2001 Messages: 1,315 Likes Received: 0
    http://www.kidmoe.com/homer/pictures/homerposh.gif'>

    only for the rich
     
  13. Kr430n5_666

    Kr430n5_666 Banned

    Joined: Oct 6, 2004 Messages: 19,229 Likes Received: 30
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