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For more than 30 years, patent attorneys and the biotechnology industry hoodwinked Americans and American investors by using a simple semantic device. They argued, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office agreed, that isolated DNA was an invention, even if it was identical in every practical way to the same DNA inside the human body.A little over a year ago, it decided that you can't patent DNA, even if the DNA is "artificial" because it's been isolated, or removed from its natural environment (a human being).It did say that you can patent complementary DNA (cDNA), which, it was argued, is not naturally occurring. They believe the U.S. Supreme Court is out of step with the rest of the world. They want it all – cDNA and isolated DNA.The Australian equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court, the High Court of Australia, is now going to have to resolve the judicial schism between U.S. and Australian patent law over isolated DNA.
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