Mayo Clinic's Invention Theft Strategy

by | Jul 20, 2011 | Intellectual Property, POLITICS

Mayo clinic’s management is pursuing a business strategy of efficient infringement – more commonly known as theft of other people’s inventions.  This immoral course of action is exemplified by Mayo’s involvement in two frivolous patent lawsuits Mayo v. Prometheus and ACLU, Mayo et al. v. Myriad and in their support, through their lobbying organizations, for […]

Mayo clinic’s management is pursuing a business strategy of efficient infringement – more commonly known as theft of other people’s inventions.  This immoral course of action is exemplified by Mayo’s involvement in two frivolous patent lawsuits Mayo v. Prometheus and ACLU, Mayo et al. v. Myriad and in their support, through their lobbying organizations, for the America Invents Act (H.R. 1249 & S.23). The Act is nothing but a power grab by large multinational companies to steal the inventions of individuals and startups.  The researchers at Mayo better wake up and realize that their managements’ actions, if successful, will not be limited to stealing the intellectual effort of non-Mayo inventors.

Mayo’s argument in the Prometheus case,  patent claims cover a natural phenomenon and are therefore not patentable, does not pass the laugh test.  The Prometheus invention is a method of treating Crohn’s disease.  There is no method of treating Crohn’s disease in nature, other than letting the disease take its natural course.  Mayo’s defense is clearly an immoral attempt to appropriate the property of the inventor.

Mayo and the ACLU’s arguments in the Myriad case run the gamut from: patents are monopolies, to the patent office (PTO) actions violated their 1st Amendment free speech rights, to property rights should not stand in the way of science, to the need of public out weighs the property rights of the inventor, and finally to the idea that patent claims to “isolated genes” cover “products” of nature.  Mayo justification for stealing other people’s property rights is right out of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.  Every looter tries to denigrate patents by claiming they are a monopoly.  Patents are granted because the inventor created something new that did not exist before.  This is the basis of all property rights.  The value of science over property rights is also straight from Atlas Shrugged – the State Science Institute (in the novel) makes exactly the same argument.  The needs of the public or the poor are the arguments of every dictator from Hitler, to Stalin, to Mao and now includes the Mayo Clinic.  One argument that was so bizarre that even Ayn Rand could not anticipate it was the free speech claim.  Nothing in patent law or the regulations say anything about speech.  Their argument seemed to be that other people’s property rights were interfering with their free speech rights.  This is a rehash of a Marxist argument,  based on the idea that my need for an outlet for my speech means that you have to give me your property to achieve my need.  It is not surprising to see the ACLU rehashing tired, worn out, and intellectually dishonest socialist arguments, but for Mayo to be associated with them is frightening.

The only argument the trial court addressed was the idea that claims to “isolated genes” are a product of nature.  The trial court opinion was  156 pages of rambling nonsense by a senile judge who does not understand patent law.  Despite this, it is clear to anyone who wants to exercise their reason,  genes are not found in isolation in nature.  Even the argument that they are in isolation during mitosis does not separate them from the cell or from the human body.  As a result, the nonsense argument that this allows companies to own a part of you is without any foundation.

Mayo has not only put forth intellectual dishonest arguments for stealing Myriad’s inventions,  they are also  hypocrites.  Mayo owns three patents directed to “isolated genes”: see USPN 5981217 and USPN 5618695 and USPN 6207375, ironically for Breast Cancer.  The patent, 6207375,  shows that the argument by Mayo researchers, namely, that it is impossible to design around the Myriad patents is nonsense and is being used as just another excuse to steal other people’s property.

Mayo better wake up and realize that using the government to be a parasite works both ways.  With the likely enactment of the America Invents Act, Mayo will soon get a taste of their own medicine.  Unfortunately, they are likely to hurt a number of innocent people along the way.

The researchers at Mayo need to understand that their management will not confine their theft to just outside inventors.  The reason Mayo supports the America Invents Act and is pushing these lawsuits is that they do not want to pay for people’s inventions whether they be internal or external inventors.  Weakening our patent laws has been a favorite way for large companies to reduce the wages they have to pay for engineers and scientists.

These cases are likely the tip of the iceberg of Mayo’s systematic theft of other people’s intellectual property.  The cost of filing a lawsuit has probably discouraged many other’s from filing a patent infringement case against Mayo.  The actions by the management at Mayo should result in their immediate firing, imprisonment for theft and civil racketeering.

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Dale B. Halling is patent attorney and entrepreneur. As a patent attorney, Mr. Halling, has represented numerous Fortune 500 companies including, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, Motorola, Ameritech, SBC, MCI, Cypress, and numerous technology start-ups. He has helped his clients obtain patents worldwide. Mr. Halling has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Kansas State University, an MS in Physics from the University of Texas at Dallas and a JD from St. Louis University. Mr. Halling is the author of the book “The Decline and Fall of the American Entrepreneur: How Little Known Laws are Killing Innovation.” Visit his website at www.hallingblog.com

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