Gene patent amendment bill introduced

On 24 November 2010, the Patent Amendment (Human Genes and Biological Materials) Bill 2010 was introduced in the Senate.  This private Senator’s bill proposes to, among other things, expressly exclude “human beings, and the biological processes for their generation” and “biological materials” (which are defined to include DNA, RNA and proteins) from patentability.  The text of the bill can be found here.

On 26 November 2010, the Senate referred the bill to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee for report by 16 June 2011.  Submissions for the report are due by 25 February 2011.

The Explanatory Memorandum to the bill states that the “purpose of the bill is to advance medical and scientific research and the diagnosis, treatment and cure of human illness and disease by enabling doctors and scientific researchers to gain free and unfettered access to biological materials, however made, that are identical or substantially identical to such materials as they exist in nature”.  The text of the Explanatory Memorandum can be found here.


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