In the following paragraphs, "rare diseases" are understood to be those that occur in less than 200,000 people in the United States.
Dear Patent Holder,
The University is initiating a program to conduct gene-based diagnostic tests on patients who suffer from any of a number of rare ocular diseases. Because these diseases are rare, there generally has not been commercial interest in providing these services. As a result, the needs of these patients are not being met. With this in mind, the University has decided to offer diagnostic testing for these diseases as a non-profit public service. We intend to focus on the diagnosis of diseases that are not otherwise being diagnosed by commercial services or diagnostic products. Although we expect to charge a modest fee for these services, the fee will be designed to reimburse us only for the actual cost of conducting the diagnostic procedure in our clinical facilities. We do not expect to make any profit from providing these services.
We plan to test patient samples for defects in genes that are implicated in rare ocular diseases, some of which are the subject of patent protection. Because this testing will be provided as a non-profit public service, it is our hope that those who hold patents covering these genes will not object to their use in the program.
Our research indicates that you hold a patent that may cover our proposed use. If that is the case, we would be grateful for your support of this worthwhile program. In recognition of your willingness to permit us to provide these tests, we would be pleased to inform our patients of your kindness, at your request. In the event you feel it necessary to document this arrangement, we can provide you with a simple agreement that we have prepared for this purpose. If, for some reason, you are not able to support this program, please contact us so that we can discuss your concerns.
We hope you will agree with us that the public benefit of providing non-profit diagnostic services for rare eye diseases deserves our shared attention and action.