A debate is raging over the constitutionality of gene patents and their effect on the availability of genetic diagnostics and therapies. Whether gene patents are in fact constitutional is for the courts to decide. Rather, this Comment will argue that patents for isolated human genes positively affect society as a whole, with particular emphasis on patients in need of genetic innovations. Gene patents elevate genetic engineering beyond the realm of basic science and spur important advances in therapeutic technology.
Part I(A) will introduce the history of the American patent system, with particular emphasis on patents in the field of biotechnology. Part I(B) will then discuss the basic science behind genes and the utility of isolated DNA. Part II will introduce the legal debate concerning the patentability of isolated DNA with an overview of the Myriad cases. Part III will discuss the economic advantages and disadvantages of gene patents and will introduce the arguments levied on both sides of the issue. Part IV will conclude the paper with a summary of this author’s argument that gene patents act as integral incentives for biotechnological progress.