Dear Aanya & Abhinav,
Couple of my observations.
As Abhinav pointed out the news article you pointed out is very old. However there are equally strong arguments from those wanting to have so called “gene patents” (the word gene patent has been a highly abused word, without really understanding what it actually is) and those opposing them. It will be a long debate when we start arguing whether the so called gene patents (which in fact are isolated DNA sequences, allegedly a “lawyers trick”) should be a patentable subject matter or not. In my view, as the law stands in many of the major jurisdictions presently, they are patentable subject matter, including INDIA (they do not come under non-patentable subject matter under the Indian Patent Act).
I would request you to do some investigation. Do a Google search and you will find out how both sides present their arguments. This will help you understand and appreciate the concerns of each side. I would also urge you to read the recent decision of federal circuit related to BRCA gene patents delivered in July 2011. It has upheld the validity of patents related to isolated DNA sequences. The battle is going to continue further.
“Nobody else can test for it” – indeed YES, if they are testing it commercially………any kind of testing for research purpose is not considered infringing. If someone considers this as infringing, I can only pity his/her understanding of patent laws. BTW, I am in favour of the so called gene patents!