EUGENICS, NOT PATENTS IS ISSUE IN GENE RESEARCH,
ATTORNEY TESTIFIES BEFORE SENATE COMMITTEE
PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Portland patent attorney and physician, William D. Noonan, M.D., will testify at a hearing of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks concerning "The Genome Project: The Ethical Issues of Gene Patenting," Klarquist, Sparkman, Campbell, Leigh & Whinston said today. The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 22.
The hearing is part of a congressional investigation to determine whether the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or anyone, can patent and have the exclusive legal ownership rights in genes.
Noonan will testify with Dr. Bernadine Healy, the director of the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Craig Venter, an NIH researcher who has developed a technique to rapidly identify segments of genes. As a result of Dr. Venter's new technique, the NIH recently applied for patents on more than 2,700 human gene fragments.
According to Noonan, a partner with the Portland patent and trademark law firm of Klarquist, Sparkman, Campbell, Leigh & Whinston, "The real issue raised by genome research is the question of practicing molecular eugenics on humans and animals. There is nothing ethically new about patenting DNA molecules. Chemical components of the human body have been patented for years. Promoting the development of new medical treatments ethically justifies gene patents. However, it is inappropriate and ineffective to regulate scientific ethics and social morality using patent law. The issues should be instead addressed directly by an international conference that provides research guidelines and regulations that specifically address eugenic research."
The issue of genetic information ownership has arisen out of the $3-billion Human Genome Project, an international collaborative effort, launched in 1988, to locate and define the chemical sequences of all 100,000 human genes. The U.S. Human Genome Project is the United States' national program.
Noonan is one of few medical doctors in the United States who holds a law degree and practices a patent law specialty. He has been published in the "Journal of Patent and Trademark Office," and the "Journal of Legal Medicine" regarding issues of patenting medical technology and the ownership of biological tissue.
Klarquist, Sparkman, Campbell, Leigh & Whinston is a 50-year-old legal firm specializing in patent law and emphasizing intellectual property. With a staff of 60, the firm assists U.S. and foreign clients in patent, trademark, copyright and trade secrets law.
/CONTACT: Wendy Lane of Lane Advertising & Public Relations, 503-221-0480, for Klarquist, Sparkman, Campbell, Leigh & Whinston/ CO: Klarquist, Sparkman, Campbell, Leigh & Whinston ST: Oregon IN: SU:
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