Los Angeles, CA asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Arizona

Q: Isn't it a conflict of interest for this man to have patents for infectious disease drugs for things such as HIV???

3 Lawyer Answers
Bill Hulsey
Bill Hulsey
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Austin, TX

A: Your question is not clear. Please re-phrase.

Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: Your question did not clearly state what man or what patents. But as a general matter, it is not unusual for leading scientists working for the United States to be named as inventors on patents. That is required under our Constitution. However, being named as an inventor is not the same as owning the patent. (So your use of the phrase "have patents" may indicate that you have been riled up for no reason). Many probably most inventions are not owned by the inventors but are owned by their employers. In some cases the employer is a company, in some cases the employer is a university, and in some cases the employer is a government agency.

I hope that this helps.

Kevin E Flynn

Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Moorestown, NJ

A: Your question is a very common one. How is it that we, as a society, allow an individual or a company to own a patent on a medicine that could be used to save human lives? Is it morally right to let an individual or company prevent other companies from treating patients with the patented medicines?

The answer has to do with the practical issues of how to pay for the costs of the discovery and development of new medicines. Because it is very expensive to develop a new medicines, but very easy to copy it, without a way of making lots of money on the medicines, pharmaceutical companies would not invest in discovering and developing new medicines.

There are ways of discovering and developing medicines without patents (such as having the governmental laboratories discover and make the new medicines and then letting pharmaceutical companies simply copy the medicine), but under out economic system the government believes that the discovery and development of new drugs are better handled by private companies, instead of having the government do it.

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