Reality Check

BROADER PATENT PROTECTION would propel U.S. technology, say backers of a bill sponsored by Representative William Hughes (D-N.J.) that is headed toward a House vote. Its main aim is to tighten patent safeguards for biotechnology. Because many biotech drugs, such as insulin, exist in nature, they are hard to patent. The Hughes bill would, among other things, grant patents to the actual drugmaking process, which consists of inserting patented dna into "host" cells that then churn out the desired drug.

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