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In response to the Australian Senate Community Affairs Committee’s Inquiry, the author and other American law professors submitted a brief to help the Senate Committee understand the current state of American law, and how the provision of patents on genetic technologies has and will continue to create serious problems for innovation, health care, and society at large.

The brief addresses the following subjects in regard to American law, which respond generally to the issues raised by the Committee’s inquiry. 1. The questionable need for patent rights in genetic sequences and other derivatives of naturally occurring materials, certain diagnostic discoveries, and other discoveries; 2. The dubious legal status of patent claims to such discoveries; and 3. The serious harms caused by granting patents on such discoveries.

The brief is not an exhaustive treatment of these issues, but rather is intended to highlight fundamental but mistaken assumptions about the need for and effects of gene patents and to identify significant problems with such patents.