Gene patents--a time to balance access and incentives

Trends Biotechnol. 1996 Aug;14(8):298-302. doi: 10.1016/0167-7799(96)10039-1.


The issue of patents on inventions of genomic research is the subject of intense debate. The exchange of scientific information and access to new technologies are critical to biomedical research. Similarly, strong patent laws are necessary to encourage innovation. Thus, it is time to balance access and incentive. Patents claiming genes with purely speculative utilities should not be issued, and they possibly limit research. Reasonable access to properly patented genes should be provided for research, and exclusive positions maintained for commercial utilities. This will promote ready access to genomic information and fundamental technologies, while optimizing the discovery and disclosure of basic advances in biomedical research.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Biotechnology / trends
  • Computational Biology / trends*
  • Genome*
  • Government
  • History, 20th Century
  • Human Genome Project / history
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Patents as Topic* / history
  • Research
  • United States