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Supreme Court Says Human Genes Arenít Patentable
Wall Street Journal ^ | June 13, 2013 | Brent Kendall, Jess Bravin

Posted on 06/13/2013 12:35:25 PM PDT by JerseyanExile

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that human genes isolated from the body can’t be patented, a victory for doctors and patients who argued that such patents interfere with scientific research and the practice of medicine.

The court was handing down one of its most significant rulings in the age of molecular medicine, deciding who may own the fundamental building blocks of life.

The case involved Myriad Genetics Inc., which holds patents related to two genes, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, that can indicate whether a woman has a heightened risk of developing breast cancer or ovarian cancer.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the court, said the genes Myriad isolated are products of nature, which aren’t eligible for patents.

“Myriad did not create anything,” Justice Thomas wrote in an 18-page opinion. “To be sure, it found an important and useful gene, but separating that gene from its surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention.”

Even if a discovery is brilliant or groundbreaking, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s patentable, the court said.

However, the ruling wasn’t a complete loss for Myriad. The court said that DNA molecules synthesized in a laboratory were eligible for patent protection. Myriad’s share price initially surged as much as 11% on the news but later fell back near the previous day’s close.

The court adopted the position advanced by the Obama administration, which argued that isolated forms of naturally occurring DNA weren’t patentable, but artificial DNA molecules were.

Myriad also has patent claims on artificial genes, known as cDNA.

In a statement, Myriad said the decision would allow it to keep 24 patents “conferring strong patent protection” for its tests on the breast-cancer genes.

(Excerpt) Read more at stream.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: genes; genetics; helixmakemineadouble; patents; supremecourt

1 posted on 06/13/2013 12:35:25 PM PDT by JerseyanExile
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To: BuckeyeTexan

SCOTUS ping.


2 posted on 06/13/2013 12:40:54 PM PDT by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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To: JerseyanExile

Good decision; glad it was unanimous. (Well, technically, only 8 justices joined Thomas’s opinion; Scalia wrote an odd little concurrence saying that he won’t sign onto the majority opinion because it contains a lot of scientific explanations of DNA that he doesn’t understand, but he agrees with the result.)


3 posted on 06/13/2013 12:44:07 PM PDT by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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To: JerseyanExile

Well, this is pretty much going to kill the genomics industry...


4 posted on 06/13/2013 12:48:20 PM PDT by kevkrom (Obama: less class than Bill Clinton)
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To: Lurking Libertarian; JDW11235; Clairity; TheOldLady; Spacetrucker; Art in Idaho; GregNH; ...

FReepmail me to subscribe to or unsubscribe from the SCOTUS ping list.

5 posted on 06/13/2013 12:50:47 PM PDT by BuckeyeTexan (There are those that break and bend. I'm the other kind. ~Steve Earle)
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To: kevkrom
Well, this is pretty much going to kill the genomics industry...

Not at all. Techniques for isolating a gene can be patented; any non-natural variation on a gene can be patented. Only a naturally-occurring gene can't be patented. That should increase activity in genomics; before this case, companies were afraid to do any research on the BRCA gene for fear of lawsuits.

6 posted on 06/13/2013 12:52:33 PM PDT by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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To: JerseyanExile

Finally - a decision that demonstrates a little logic - something the Court has been losing grasp of for some time now.


7 posted on 06/13/2013 1:21:33 PM PDT by TheBattman (Isn't the lesser evil... still evil?)
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To: JerseyanExile
Patenting Life by Michael Crichton, NYT OpEd, February 13, 2007

YOU, or someone you love, may die because of a gene patent that should never have been granted in the first place. Sound far-fetched? Unfortunately, it’s only too real...

8 posted on 06/13/2013 1:24:41 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Affirmative action is racial profiling.)
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To: TheBattman

It doesn’t make up for the DNA-swabbing ruling.


9 posted on 06/13/2013 1:52:53 PM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: 1010RD

No - definitely not. Indeed, that is one of the examples of how logic has been absent in the SCOTUS. But that is just one of many examples. This court is smoking WAY too much dope, shooting up something, or is writing opinions while seriously drunk...


10 posted on 06/13/2013 2:00:29 PM PDT by TheBattman (Isn't the lesser evil... still evil?)
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To: Lurking Libertarian

I think this is good on both counts. Thomas writes the opinion, but Scalia is sticking up for everyman, saying, the average person isn’t into scientific muck, but and all are saying that our DNA is our own, only patentable when removed from the body and altered by a lab.


11 posted on 06/13/2013 2:11:48 PM PDT by BigEdLB (Now there ARE 1,000,000 regrets - but it may be too late.)
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To: JerseyanExile

I’ll tell ya what shouldn’t be patentable....the word “patentable”.


12 posted on 06/13/2013 2:21:39 PM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: JerseyanExile

Good if someone uses my DNA to make a new drug I should get paid for it. My DNA belongs to me and no one else.


13 posted on 06/13/2013 4:09:39 PM PDT by ColdSteelTalon (Light is fading to shadow, and casting its shroud over all we have known...)
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To: JerseyanExile

Personally, I wonder what took so long for this to become the law of the land. Naturally-occuring things have never been eligible for patent protection. However, the reality is that this holding is quite narrow as a particular genetic manipulation by man is subject to patent protection


14 posted on 06/14/2013 4:05:59 PM PDT by Smedley (It's a sad day for American capitalism when a man can't fly a midget on a kite over Central Park)
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To: martin_fierro; blam

Thanks JerseyanExile.
The court adopted the position advanced by the Obama administration, which argued that isolated forms of naturally occurring DNA weren’t patentable, but artificial DNA molecules were.

15 posted on 06/14/2013 9:08:17 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (McCain or Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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