On July 23, the House of Representatives passed by voice vote the Weldon
Amendment to the Commerce/Justice/State appropriations bill (H.R. 2799). This amendment
prohibits federal funds from being used to issue patents on human organisms. It now
faces Senate approval in the appropriations process.
The Weldon Amendment:
- Reaffirms the current internal policy of the U.S. Patent and Trademark
Office (USPTO), which already recognizes that "human beings at any stage of
development" are not patentable subject matter
- Adds legislative authority to USPTO policy, which would withstand court challenges to patenting human organisms
- Supports NAFTA and WTO policy forbidding human patenting since such is "necessary to protect order public or morality, and protect human life"
- Protects all "human organisms," not simply human beings, from
patentability, including embryos created through in-vitro fertilization and
Advancements in the biotech industry, including the increasing threat of cloning, have
created a new area of scientific uncertainty. Without the Weldon Amendment,
researchers are left a major loophole to patent human embryos for any number of
research projects. Human organisms at any stage of development should not
be owned by any person, organization, or industry.
ACTION ITEM: The Weldon Amendment must be passed this year due to increasing pressure on members from the biotech community. Help protect human beings from being patented.
Call, write, or email your U.S. Senator and tell them to keep the
Weldon Amendment in the Commerce/Justice/State appropriations bill.
Special attention: Majority Leader Frist (TN) and Senator McConnell (KY).
CALL IMMEDIATELY! CAPITOL SWITCHBOARD (202) 224-3121