Patenting Genes: NPR Talks IP with BIO

Today, June 4, 2009 at 1:00 PM ET

DC’s WAMU Radio Station (88.5 FM) or at

The genetic material in our cells make us who we are. But since 1982, the U.S. Patent Office has issued tens of thousands of patents to private companies for gene-related products. The biotechnology industry says these patents are necessary to spur innovation. Opponents say they actually stifle science. We examine the intersection of cutting-edge genetic research and intellectual property.


  • Joshua D. Sarnoff, Professor of the Practice of Law, American University’s Washington College of Law
  • Hans Sauer, Associate General Counsel for Intellectual Property, Biotechnology Industry Organization
  • Shobita Parthasarathy, Co-Director, Science, Technology and Public Policy Program, Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan; author, “Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care” (MIT Press)

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