Over the last 20 years, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has been issuing patents to universities and private companies on raw human genes. One company or university is given a legal monopoly over a molecule that is inside every human being and many other animals. This documentary explores the legal, ethical, and clinical ramifications of human gene patenting.
Those without any sound principles about rights and economics are totally confounded by the issue of gene patents. The author of “The absurdity of patenting genes,” in The Guardian, for example, first observes, “Patents are a sensible idea, because people are more likely to invest in innovation …”. But on the other hand, “patents also act as a barrier to innovation, and gene patents bring these disadvantages into stark relief.” So, patents are sensible, because they stimulate innovation … yet they also hamper innovation. Mmm-hmm.