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Monday, November 01, 2010

Courts - Updating "Cancer Patients Challenge the Patenting of a Gene"

The ILB has had a number of entries under that heading. On Oct. 29th Andrew Pollack had this story in the NY Times, headlined "U.S. Says Genes Should Not Be Eligible for Patents." This is the case where:

[T]he American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation organized various individuals, medical researchers and societies to file a lawsuit challenging patents held by Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation. The patents cover two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, and the over $3,000 analysis Myriad performs on the genes to see if women carry mutations that predispose them to breast and ovarian cancers.

In a surprise ruling in March, Judge Robert W. Sweet of the United States District Court in Manhattan ruled the patents invalid. He said that genes were important for the information they convey, and in that sense, an isolated gene was not really different from a gene in the body. The government said that that ruling prompted it to re-evaluate its policy.

Myriad and the University of Utah have appealed.

Saying that the questions in the case were “of great importance to the national economy, to medical science and to the public health,” the Justice Department filed an amicus brief that sided with neither party. While the government took the plaintiffs’ side on the issue of isolated DNA, it sided with Myriad on patentability of manipulated DNA.

Here, via the NYT, is the DOJ Friend-of-theCourt Brief.

Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog posted a long entry Oct. 30, 2010 that begins:

Taking a position in court for the first time on the issue of patenting human genes, when isolated outside the body, the Obama Administration opposed monopoly rights. The position runs counter to long-time government policy. The issue likely is bound for the Supreme Court.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 1, 2010 07:55 AM
Posted to Courts in general