Patents contribute significantly towards economic performance and innovation. This can be proved through the observation of the recent trends in patents, whereby there has been a significant increase in patent applications between 1992 and 2002. Research indicates that the number of patents filed between these two years indicated a 40 % percent increase from the statistics gathered from Japan, Europe, and the United States. Despite these notable developments, arguments have been raging whether companies should be permitted to patent genes or not. Opponents indicate that companies should not be allowed to patent genes, and they have cited several points to support their claim. These include the fact that patents encourage monopoly, have an effect on people’s jobs, lives, and careers, patenting requirement, and rights to patent holder. On the other hand, proponents indicate that companies should be allowed to patent genes because it motivates companies to invest energy, time, and money in the coming up of products that are socially useful. In addition, patenting rights to companies facilitates them to come up with developments of markets for technology.
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Thus, this essay explicates why companies should not be allowed to patent genes. In addition, it provides some arguments raised by proponents for allowing companies to patent genes and sums up with reasons for not factoring the arguments by the proponents.
Firstly, according to Lever (2008), companies should not be allowed to patent genes because they bestow a lot of rights to the patent holder, which, in this sense, is the company in question. This has many detrimental effects such as monopoly right to license, exploitation and benefit from invention, and barring other quarters from benefitting from the patent. A good example is explicated from the Nuffield Council on bioethics, which made its concern clear regarding the matter that “designing around” genes was a difficulty.
Another reason why companies should not be allowed to patent genes rests on the fact that it can have effect on people’s jobs and careers as well as their wellbeing. According to Gaisser & Hopkins (2009), gene patents have the potential of hindering the development of medical tests and products. Thus, it should be noted that if companies are allowed to get gene patents, many individuals will be denied of their rights, employment, hopes, and prospects. Thus, in this case, it can be noted that a great debate emanates from the fact, when companies are allowed to patent genes, there can be a possibility of the companies owning the genes, which denies an individual rights regarding to what one can accomplish with oneself during his lifetime.
Another significant point why companies should not be allowed to patent genes concerns patenting requirements. From the patenting requirements, people can deduct that patenting threatens human’s self-ownership. This is because the patent holder is entitled to certain rights such as the use of the patent, licensing or selling the patent invention. Thus, from the aforementioned point, its’ clear to notice that if companies are allowed to patent genes it means that people will lose their self identity because they will be owned by the companies that have patented their genes, which is a denial of their right to existence. Despite the above points advanced by those opposing patenting of genes, proponents have also advanced several claims to substantiate why companies should be allowed to patent genes, and the points are indicated below.
Firstly, proponents are of the idea that if companies are allowed to patent genes, this will motivate the companies to invest their time, energy, and money in the coming up of development that is useful to the society. Patents are also considered as a way of motivating people towards contributing positively to the benefit of the public. For instance, it should be noted that patents facilitate the publication of essential knowledge, which does not stop at the creation stage. Notably, when companies are allowed to patent genes, they facilitate the creation of automatic rules that can be fairly applied.
Another point, advanced by proponents, is the fact that patents facilitate the development of markets for technology. According to Toumi (2009), a well functioning patent system in the market ensures that there is an expansion of markets for technology and circulation of technology is also promoted. Thus, this explains why government’s efforts are essential in ensuring that markets, where patenting of genes is allowed, flourishes, which means that no development will be hampered.
Thus, the points, advanced by proponents, should not be factored because, in as much as they motivate companies to invest more of their time, energy, and money towards development, it is not a type of development that can be productive to the general public. This is because the development aimed at is for benefitting only the company owners who gain rights on a person’s life, ambitions, and aspirations. In addition, the points by proponents should not be factored because it makes the government get involved in securing a market, which does not work for the benefit of the public, but for the benefit of the minority, who owns the companies.
In conclusion, raging arguments abound between those supporting companies to be allowed to patent genes and those opposing the idea. Points advanced by opponents include the fact that the patent holder is bestowed with many rights, it has an effect on a person’s career and aspirations, and the patenting requirements. On the other hand, proponents indicate that patenting genes facilitates development of markets and motivates companies to invest money and energy towards development.
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