Q: Isn't it a conflict of interest for this man to have patents for infectious disease drugs for things such as HIV???
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
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.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.