This is something that we have argues with. You own your animals, but when you send in DNA data for testing YOU pay for the testing, but even with that almost all of the breed associations claim that they own the data. To us this is wrong. When testing is done thru us, we also send a statement along so that the test results are also allowed to be used by the owner.
A good example would be if you own a bull that you have genomic tested thru the association. You have a commercial herd and you have several replacement heifers that you want to test and also use SeekSire. Instead of directly testing with Neogen as an example, you would have to go thru the association to get those tests done. Our feeling, YOU own the bull, you should also own the data but the breed association has the right to use it.
I am curious when we send in DNA samples are we paying any licensing fees for the rights to use the defect tests?
I sent the question to David Fenton who is First Director of HHBI and here is his reply:
The only element of the total of charges that a person wishing to access tests, including disease tests, through HHBI, is that of the need to join HHBI before accessing any or all the tests. I am unable to tell you whether within the list of charges provided to us by Neogen for their analytical services there is any element or part which relates to royalties or licensing fees.
The fee to join HHBI is about $30.00USD, and the annual membership runs from January 1 through December 31 by the calendar.
It should be added that HHBI also agrees that the Owner still owns the DNA profile and data for any of their animals tested with HHBI. The question of whether or not a breed association/society, can legally claim sole ownership of DNA samples, data, or profiles is being contested in the UK.
Just recently I was told that:
"The legal thinking is that the DNA of your cattle is the result of YOUR breeding decisions and is therefore YOUR intellectual property. At the very least this opinion means you retain the right to direct how the DNA is used even though it is held by the Societies. It is also believed that UK breed societies do not have the right to demand the exclusive use of a particular DNA extraction company like Neogen. It is believed that demands such as these amount to 3rd line forcing and are prohibited by law. Further it is thought that whilst the breed societies have a right to set a specification for the testing they require, any REGISTERED laboratory capable of meeting that specification can be used to extract the DNA profile. There is a clear benefit in this for the breeder. Providing you can get your DNA profile through an appropriately registered laboratory and pay for it, you can then deal out the use of your DNA profiles as you want, rather than have them controlled by the breed societies."
So if the breeders in the UK do have ownership of their HCS generated profiles, then these profiles should be available for the breeder to use and to send copies of to HHBI for the HTOPP test. Instead of having a second, and redundant, profile copy created, HHBI is perfectly willing to accept profiles instead of actual DNA samples in order to reduce costs to the breeder that requesting HHBI's test services. In addition to this, it goes without saying, but I will anyway, that HHBI would send a copy of a profile to the HCS if the profile's owner asked for that to be done.
The only provision to this, is that all profile data used for the HTOPP test have to be converted into a format called PLINK. It may be, that a profile, especially one that is/was generated from somewhere other than Neogen will/would cause a small fee to be charged by Neogen to convert that profile into PLINK. That detail hasn't been checked into yet. As far as that goes, I am also told that any DNA extraction company can convert their data into PLINK themselves, but they would have to be asked that by the profile owner to make sure.
Since the AHA and HHBI both use Neogen for all of their lab services, it would be a simple thing to cooperatively share profiles between the two organizations. Neogen is already sharing data internally with HHBI through its labs in the UK, Australia, and Geneseek in the US. HHBI would certainly be agreeable to this if the AHA would reciprocate.
Last Edit: Nov 19, 2020 21:48:39 GMT -6 by woodford
You will be paying one way or the other for the original research. Might not be called a royalty but your paying for it.
I've often wondered if it was taken to court if the Association could claim the information from an asset that they don't own. Does the DNA belong to the owner of the animal or does it go with the registration paper belonging to the Association ? Legal technical ownership of the DNA information .......
I would think it's going to be hashed out in court at some point with two (or more) possible outcomes:
They will either push the disclaimer singed at the bottom of the test sheet, which states the sample will become property of the AHA.
They will bring in rulings from Monsanto (or other seed suppliers, etc.) that the breeder would own the unique DNA combination of that sample.
I would think the answer lies between these two ends. The sample is owned by the AHA, the DNA sequence is owned by the animal owner. It also could create a new type of ownership, one that isn't physical possession/walking rights/semen but instead DNA sequence or cloning rights. We include these terms in our sales contracts now just for clarification but it could become more widespread going forward.