Mars Gene patenting

Therapeutic Indecks

Junior Members
A friend told me that

"Mars have been taking out patents on Genes for cocoa. This particular cocoa they have been buying for year from farmers on the ivory coast, but now they have patented it, the farmers are no longer allowed to sell it and have to but the seeds from Mars to grow the cocoa, as they are made infertile by genetically modification."

Does anybody know the truth about this? Surely it can't be legal to just pay some money and own a strip of DNA so that nobody else can use it.


Staff member
Forum Supporter
Nah to take out a patent, even in the US, it has to be an "original" idea. I'd hardly say a cocoa bean grown for hundreds of years is "original" and prior "art" can be provided.

Sounds like BS to me and besides it'd only be valid in the US anyway ...


Professionally fluffy

The Wellcome Trust are independent and tend to know what they are talking about.

Patent law evolved to protect and encourage technological innovation. But the rise of biotechnology has blurred the boundary between invention and discovery. According to patent law, is it not possible to patent raw DNA sequences. Nor is it is not possible to patent a naturally occurring or conventionally bred new animal or plant variety, nor any part of the human body at any stage of development.

However, isolated genes, gene sequences and gene products may be patentable - no distinction is made between DNA and other chemicals. And, where the creation of a new variety of organism involves an 'inventive step', in the laboratory rather than the field, it too may be patentable.