Wednesday, May 07, 2003

the saga of intellectual property [Nature]
Most geneticists have never heard of Malcolm Simons. But they could get to hear about him pretty soon when they're asked to pay for use of non-coding DNA -- sometimes known as 'junk' DNA -- on which the New Zealand immunologist has won wide-ranging global patents.

Genetic Technologies (GTG), the Australian company that now holds the rights to the patents, is starting to assert these rights in universities. And researchers could shortly need a licence from the company to use any non-coding sequence in genetic analyses of any species in their research.

"We have contacted academic research groups in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Japan and Europe," says Mervyn Jacobson, chairman of GTG, who says that the company is in the final stages of negotiations with three universities in Australia and one in the United States.

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