Court Does Not Agree With Patents On Human Genes

In a lawsuit involving the immense biotech industry, a federal judge ruled, “many of a Utah company’s patents on a gene test for breast and ovarian cancer are invalid”. The case is based upon BRCA-1 and BRCA-2, which are two patents for human genes. BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 are both linked to breast cancer as well as ovarian cancers. Myriad Genetics offers women who want to know if they carry various variants of genes that are in relation to certain cancers a $3,000 test. Judge Robert Sweet of New York does not agreed with some of Myriad’s patents and believes some of them to be invalid in many ways. The judge also claims that the “BRCA genes are products of nature, so essentially, the company can’t own patents on them”. If this logic, held by the judge, proceeds and holds up, thousands of other various patents could be at risk. Many say this could be the beginning of legal rules regarding patents now. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation brought the lawsuit forward. Daniel B. Ravicher, a lawyer for the Public Patent Foundation stated, “The court correctly saw that companies should not be able to own the right to a piece of the human genome.” “No one invented genes.” Myriad Genetics stated that they plan to appeal the ruling and are confident in the fact that the decision will be overturned. “The company also said it didn’t expect the ruling to hurt its business because so many patents on the test are unaffected.”

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