Editor’s Note: Since this article was written, the US Senate also released its report on gene patents on December 6, 2010.
Natural News This is one of the most important issues for the future of human civilization: Who owns your genetic code? Based on existing U.S. law, the corporations own it. Right now, over 20% of your genetic code is owned by biotech corporations (this is a fact). But the U.S. Justice Department has just issued a “friend of the court” briefing that looks poised to overturn this, driving a stake through the heart of the intellectual property monster known as the biotech industry.
This is a major reversal of decades of U.S. policy. If the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) enforces this new ruling, it would mean an end to all biotech patents on human genes. Effectively, it would set our genetic code free from corporate domination.
Human genes are part of nature, not a human invention
In its brief, the Dept of Justice argued that genes should not be patentable because they are part of nature:
“The chemical structure of native human genes is a product of nature, and it is no less a product of nature when that structure is ‘isolated’ from its natural environment than are cotton fibers that have been separated from cotton seeds or coal that has been extracted from the earth…” (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packag…)
This makes sense, of course — it’s the same thing I’ve been arguing here on NaturalNews for years. To allow corporations to own even a small part of the human genome is a pathway to human slavery. We have been headed down that path for a long time, and now for the first time it appears things may be turning for the better.
The insanity of modern patent law
Few reasonable people would argue that U.S. patent law as it exists today makes any real sense in the first place. Patents are supposed to offer legal protection for “man-made inventions.” The whole idea that you can patent human genes is ridiculous from the outset.
Human genetic code was obviously not invented by humans, and especially not by one person or corporation. To grant a corporation an intellectual property monopoly over even a single human gene is an affront to human heritage and a violation of natural law. That this has already happened is a crime against humanity.
Theoretically, such patents actually give corporations the right to charge royalties when couples reproduce because by having a baby, you are “replicating” a patented gene without permission. Thus, you could be guilty of patent violation and be forced to pay a royalty to the patent owner.
Fast forward this a few decades under a country controlled by corporate interests, and you can see where it ends up: Just to have a baby, you might have to pay $100,000 in royalty payments to dozens of different corporations who own “your” genetic code. This would all be enforced by local police officers and sheriffs who might arrest you at gunpoint for your acts of “corporate piracy” (getting pregnant).
Don’t think it could happen? Check out the history of the RIAA and its intellectual property war against the people. Look at what Monsanto has done to farmers who accidentally grew GMO crops because the GMO seeds blew into their fields. Look what Myriad Genetics is doing right now with its patent on human breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 — it’s charging $3,000 a pop to run a simple test that determines whether women carry those genes.
Make no mistake: When you hand monopoly control to a corporation, that corporation will exploit it to its fullest extent, even if it means destroying human lives in the process.
Why stop at genes? Seeds should also be set free
If the USPTO disallows all patents on human genes, then by the same logic there should be no patents allowed on seeds or animals, either. The patenting of seeds is yet another method by which powerful corporations like Monsanto and DuPont may effectively enslave the human race by controlling the food supply.
To remove patent protection from seeds is to destroy the seed monopolies that these dangerous, destructive corporations depend on to enforce their control over the seed supply. And it is due to patent protection on seeds that we have already lost a tremendous amount of seed diversity in the agricultural seed markets.
Patents on genes and seeds are the enemy of freedom. They are the shackles that keep farmers and consumers enslaved by corporate interests. To see that these patents now have the potential to be disallowed entirely gives us a glimmer of hope that corporate domination over the human race may be effectively resisted.
Because, let’s face it: If governments of the world continue to hand over our genes, seeds and medicines to the monopolistic, greed-driven corporations that have already destroyed our farms, contaminated our food supply and poisoned our bodies with synthetic chemicals, then the People of the world will ultimately be driven to the point of armed, violent resistance against their corporate oppressors. There is only so much tyranny the People will take before they rise up against their oppressors and fight back.
Today’s decision by the Dept of Justice may have averted that future bloodshed scenario — at least over the issue of genes and seeds. Long-term peace can only emerge when the People have their freedom and do not feel as if they are living under the threat of constant oppression by governments, corporations or other institutions of power. Every social revolution in the history of human civilization has involved a popular uprising against institutions that violated natural law and human freedom. And patents on genes and seeds are a violation of natural law.
Patents on many of Big Pharma’s drugs are also a violation of natural law
For several years now, I have publicly called for all patents on genes, seeds and animals to be declared invalid. I’ve even gone further, calling for all patents on medicines to also be declared invalid, although such a move is highly unlikely to take place anytime soon.
Can you imagine what would happen to Big Pharma if all the chemicals they stole from Mother Nature and then patented were suddenly declared “open source?”
Big Pharma would collapse within a year, and the citizens of the USA would be set free to pursue natural medicine that works rather than conventional medicine forced upon them under a monopolistic racket protected by the FDA and the USPTO.
Medicine should belong to the People, especially when much of it is sourced from plants in the first place. I believe that the People have a natural right to water, natural medicine, seeds and their own genes, too. To impede the public’s access to such natural, global resources is a violation of natural law and should be resisted by any and all means necessary.