Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The 2010 legal decision that human genes are a product of nature and cannot be patented comes under attack

An excerpt from Genomeweb (

"NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A US federal circuit court heard oral arguments yesterday from Myriad Genetics, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Department of Justice in a case about gene patenting that could have a wide impact on the genomics and molecular diagnostics business and research fields.

Myriad Genetics on Monday argued in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC, that its patent claims on BRCA genes, which it uses in its BRACAnalysis test for predicting individual breast and ovarian cancer risk, are in accord with US patent law.

ACLU lawyers countered by claiming that human genes are a product of nature and cannot be patented — a position that was upheld last year by a judge in a US District Court in New York in the same case, the Association of Molecular Pathologists vs. the US Patent and Trademark Office. (Upon its request, USPTO was relieved from defending the case by the NY court.)

The case landed in the circuit court today after Myriad appealed the ruling of Judge Robert Sweet of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York."

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