Oct 4, 2011    #168
Contact: Laura Byerley
(816) 235-1592

UMKC School of Law's Joseph Cohen Lecture Fund presents "Do Gene Patents Kill? The Controversy Surrounding DNA Patenting"

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - As gene patents lead to the development of life-saving medicines, DNA sequences are becoming a hot commodity, but critics argue that genes should not to be the subject of intellectual property rights. Building on that premise, the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Law's Joseph Cohen Lecture Fund will present "Do Gene Patents Kill? The Controversy Surrounding DNA Patenting" at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13 at the School of Law's E.E. "Tom" Thompson Courtroom," 500 E. 52nd St., Kansas City, Mo. Continuing legal education credits are available, and the lecture is free and open to the general public. Call (816) 235-1644 to RSVP. For more information, visit

Daniel B. Ravicher, executive director of the Public Patent Foundation, and Hans Sauer, deputy general counsel for Intellectual Property for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, will debate gene patenting.

Ravicher's Public Patent Foundation recently joined with the ACLU in filing a highly-publicized lawsuit against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and genetic testing company Myriad Diagnostics. Their lawsuit seeks to invalidate thousands of gene patents that have been issued by the Patent Office over the last 30 years. The case is still pending before the courts, and many predict it will ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Biotechnology Industry Organization, on the other hand, which represents numerous private companies, universities and public research institutes involved in biotechnology research and development, has taken the position that gene patents have played a critical role in incentivizing the development of life-saving medicines. Sauer will present his views from the side of the debate.

Ravicher is a registered patent attorney who writes and speaks on patent law and policy, including testifying twice before Congress. He also writes about patent policy issues for the Huffington Post. Managing Intellectual Property magazine named Ravicher one of the "50 Most Influential People in IP," and IP Law & Business magazine named Ravicher one of the "Top 50 Under 45" intellectual property attorneys.

Sauer has 16 years of professional in-house experience in the biotechnology industry, where he has worked on several research and drug development programs, being responsible for patent prosecution, clinical trial health information privacy and sales and marketing legal compliance.

The Joseph Cohen Lecture Series honors the memory of Joseph Cohen, a 1925 graduate of the University of Kansas City School of Law, the predecessor of the UMKC School of Law. The Joseph Cohen Lecture celebrates the courage and commitment of a lawyer to the causes of civil rights, individual liberty and religious freedom.

Cohen loved the challenge of being an advocate for a cause or a person. He was a member of the Bar of the State of Kansas and an eminent trial lawyer who was devoted to the education and training of lawyers in the art of advocacy. For more than 20 years, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith and throughout his lifetime was actively involved in issues relating to religious liberties and civil rights. The Joseph Cohen Fund was established by Cohen's late son, Barton P. Cohen, to honor his father's memory. The UMKC School of Law appreciates the generosity of Mr. Cohen and his wife Dr. Mary Davidson Cohen in sustaining this lecture series.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).


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