AR-News: US DC) Beagles win first round in fight for reprieve from patenting

Animalara2003 at Animalara2003 at
Thu May 20 14:22:51 EDT 2004

Eureka Alert
Public release date: 20-May-2004

Patent office will now consider the merit of University's claims on sickened 
WASHINGTON -- In a landmark decision, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 
(USPTO) has agreed to reexamine a patent on beagle dogs following a legal 
challenge filed in February by two non-profit organizations, the American 
Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) and the PatentWatch Project of the International Center 
for Technology Assessment (ICTA). In the challenge, the groups urged the 
Patent Office to cancel Patent # 6,444,872, which covers live beagle dogs and was 
issued to the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System (UT) in 
Austin, Texas. The dogs claimed in the patent are intended for use in experiments. 
"It is fundamentally illegitimate and flawed to consider any animal to be 
patentable subject matter," said AAVS President Sue Leary, "and defined as a 
machine, an article of manufacture, or an inventor's composition of matter. The 
horrible treatment of these patented dogs is a disgraceful illustration of the 
convergence of bad science and bad policy." 
Specifically, numbers 1 through 4 of the patent's claims cover "a canine 
model [of fungal lung infection]," and the remaining claims pertain to the various 
methods used to induce a fatal lung infection in the dogs. The patent also 
indicated applying the methods to pigs, sheep, monkeys, or chimpanzees and, like 
many other patents on animals, now appears to be exclusively licensed to a 
private company. 
"Dogs clearly are not patentable machines or articles of manufacture," says 
Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of ICTA. "This decision, hopefully, is a 
first step in our government recognizing this and rescinding patents on 
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    "The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those 
rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of
tyranny. - Jeremy Bentham 1748 - 1832 
The question is not can they REASON, nor can they TALK, but can they SUFFER?" 
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