In a victory for biotechnology companies, a federal appeals court ruled Friday that human genes can be patented. Odds are pretty good the case will make its way to the Supreme Court, and it’s possible the justices will rule the other way, so this is not a done deal — but until then, it seems companies can own the exclusive right to use human genes.
Proving that the FIRST program is much more than games of robotic awesomeness, a team of Girl Scouts in Iowa engineered a prosthetic device that allowed a Georgia toddler to write for the first time. The device won an inaugural X Prize Global Innovation Award and the team has applied for a patent.
Today Apple made it abundantly clear that they have noticed all those iPhone-esque smartphones, and filed a patent-infringement suit against HTC claiming the company has cribbed 20 of their iPhone-related technologies in their own Android and Windows Mobile phones.
The ACLU is one step closer to getting patents on human genes banned after a federal court today ruled that its lawsuit can continue. The defendants (The US Patent and Trademark Office and the owners of the BRCA breast cancer gene patent) had asked the court to dismiss the case.
About 20 percent of the human genome is currently patented, including genes associated with many diseases such as breast cancer and Alzheimer's. The patents mean that outside researchers need permission to study the genes and that tests can be astronomically expensive. (The test for BRCA is about $3,000.)
When Lisbeth Ceriani was diagnosed with breast cancer, she wanted a blood test to find out if she carried one of the two dreaded BRCA genes, which could increase her risk of ovarian cancer by up to 50 percent. She decided that if she were a carrier, she would have doctors remove her ovaries. But the sole purveyor of the BRCA tests, Utah-based Myriad Genetics, refused her insurance. Myriad holds the patent on the BRCA genes, and thus exclusive R&D rights, so there were no alternative tests, and Ceriani found herself unable to make a decision about her future health.
You can already swing a metaphorical tennis racket, do the virtual hula or drive a virtual steering wheel. So what could possibly be next for the Wii?
Why, this inflatable horseback riding saddle controller, of course. Seriously—-a saddle. To ride in your living room.
The external-combustion engine predates its internal-combustion counterpart by nearly a century. Internal combustion won out for modern automobiles by way of its more robust production of horsepower and torque. But Segway inventor Dean Kamen is working up several new uses for the venerable Stirling external-combustion engine. The latest is a electric generator that can use almost anything that burns as fuel. It's the centerpiece of a new hybrid-electric scooter that may never need recharging.
When light bulbs go on, questions come up. Here are some guidelines for those new to the inventor's bench
By Sarah Z. WexlerPosted 05.13.2009 at 12:31 pm 1 Comment
"Should I patent my invention?"
Getting a patent is expensive and time-consuming, so don't just start filling out an application as soon as you come up with a bright idea. John Calvert, the administrator for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Inventor Assistance Program, offers advice on whether it's truly worth it.