Washington Monthly examines whether the Patent Office is "prepared to deal with the genomic revolution." The report looks at the administrative procedure by which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) examines the overwhelming flow of applications for patents on genes. The story describes how "examiners initially reject most submissions but subsequently accept about half after the applicant makes suggested revisions." It also reveals that from all the 30,000 humane genes in the genome, "about 1,000 have already been claimed, and an estimated 10,000-20,000 applications are pending..." The author draws the conclusion that PTO - although tightening its rules in a way - "has not yet tackled the ... issue of how companies use patents," thus potentially allowing corporate interests to harm public interest in the future.
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