Patent Gridlock is Blocking Developing Lifesaving Drugs

Posted on August 25, 2008  Comments (2)

How patent gridlock is blocking the development of lifesaving drugs by Michael Heller, Forbes

Since a 1980 Supreme Court decision allowing patents on living organisms, 40,000 dna-related patents have been granted. Now picture a drug developer walking into an auditorium filled with dozens of owners of the biotech patents needed to create a potential lifesaving cure. Unless the drugmaker can strike a deal with every person in the room, the new drug won’t be developed.

Nicholas Naclerio, who used to head the BioChip Division at Motorola , told Scientific American, “If we want to make a medical diagnostic with 40 genes on it, and 20 companies hold patents on those genes, we may have a big problem.”

And it’s not just drugs we’re losing. Today anything high tech–banking, semiconductors, software, telecom–demands the assembly of innumerable patents. Innovation has moved on, but we’re stuck with old-style ownership that’s easy to fragment and hard to put together. This debacle’s only upside is that assembling fragmented property is one of the great entrepreneurial and political opportunities of our era.

This is a critical problem I have written about before. The broken patent system is a serious problem that needs to be fixed.

Related: The Effects of Patenting on SciencePatent Policy Harming USA, and the worldPatenting Life is a Bad IdeaThe Differences Between Culture and CodeInnovation and Creative CommonsThe Value of the Public DomainThe Patent System Needs to be Significantly ImprovedAre Software Patents Evil?

2 Responses to “Patent Gridlock is Blocking Developing Lifesaving Drugs”

  1. CuriousCat: Federal Circuit Decides Software No Longer Patentable
    November 11th, 2008 @ 9:41 am

    “At issue was whether an abstract idea could be eligible for patent protection. The court says no. Buh-bye business methods patents!”

  2. Business 901 Podcast: Two New Deadly Diseases for Business » Curious Cat Management Blog
    February 4th, 2013 @ 2:44 am

    I continue to record podcasts as I promote my new book – Management Matters: Building Enterprise Capability. In this podcast I discuss the 2 new deadly diseases facing companies…

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