San Diego Law Review


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The United States spends more on health care than any other country in the world.The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) helps drive health care costs higher by awarding monopolies to scientific researchers whose inventions meet the requirements dictated by Title 35 of the U.S. Code.3 Once the PTO awards such a monopoly, the inventor is the only party legally entitled to make, use, or sell the invention in the United States. Though monopolies are thought to impair competition, under the U.S. system these exclusionary rights are the rewards an inventor earns in exchange for enriching the pool of publicly available technology. Perhaps in part because of the United States’ historic resistance to monopolies, the PTO has always required the patent applicant to provide a significant amount of disclosure before a patent is granted. Recently though, the Federal Circuit made it easier for researchers to patent deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequences by relaxing the disclosure requirements for those types of patents.

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