Are Algae Genes Nature or Patentable?
by Dr. Mark Edwards (Algae Industry Magazine) There are several firms in the algae industry engaged in genetic engineering, (GE), with the intention of patenting designer algal strains. Some organizations have filed patents for naturally occurring species that have valuable qualities such as soft cell walls, overproduce certain pigments or accumulate high lipid content.
The current litigation may have to rise to the Supreme Court which could possibly take several years. If the Justice Department continues to side with the Obama administration in determining natural systems are not patentable, several algae companies will have to change their business models. The cost of documenting a gene patent is substantial and the Justice Department’s position makes gene patenting problematic. Additionally, a study done last year reported that less than 25% of patents of all types were found to be enforceable when litigated.
…The algal industry may find that a few companies lock up the means to control various expressions of natural pathways, which would prevent all other companies from using these mechanisms without paying royalties. READ MORE