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June 1999

Ethics and Medical Patents

Arch Ophthalmol. 1999;117(6):824-826. doi:10.1001/archopht.117.6.824

AN ETHICAL ANALYSIS of patents is timely for the field of ophthalmology. Recent incidents in the field such as the Pillar Point patents and the patent filed for a modification of the cataract incision by Pallin, directly concern both medical patents and medical methods patents. The cases have been hotly and extensively debated and the purpose of this article is not to review them. However, it may be time to discuss the ethical and, to a lesser degree, the legal beliefs that underlie patents, licensing, and royalties.

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