Public Release: 

National Academies advisory: Nov. 17 release of report on patents for genes, proteins

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Over the past decade, universities and corporations have aggressively sought and defended intellectual property (IP) protection for discoveries in genomic and proteomic research, often long before commercial application. Likewise, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been inundated with requests for patents on genes, gene fragments, and proteins, as well as methods to study or produce them. There is a real possibility that a thicket of IP restrictions could impede scientific progress by blocking access to previous discoveries. REAPING THE BENEFITS OF GENOMIC AND PROTEOMIC RESEARCH: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS, INNOVATION, AND PUBLIC HEALTH, new from the National Academies' National Research Council, examines ways to balance research needs with IP rights in these fields. The report will be discussed at a one-hour public briefing.


Thursday, Nov. 17, at 2 p.m. in Room 100 of the National Academies' Keck Center, 500 Fifth St., N.W., Washington, D.C. Reporters who cannot attend may listen to a live audio webcast of the briefing and submit questions using an e-mail form at


  • SHIRLEY TILGHMAN (co-chair), president, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.
  • RODERICK MCKELVIE (co-chair), partner, Covington and Burling, Washington, D.C.


OBTAIN COPIES OR REGISTER TO ATTEND by contacting the National Academies' Office of News and Public Information at tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail Advance copies of the report will be available to reporters only beginning at 2 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Nov. 16. THE REPORT IS EMBARGOED AND NOT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE BEFORE 2 P.M. EST ON NOV. 17.


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