Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Supreme Court does something Right for a Change.

Unanimously, the high court decided that human genes can’t be patented, but synthetically produced material can be.

A naturally occurring piece of DNA is “a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated,” the court said.

The case centered on a Salt Lake City company called Myriad Genetics that was granted patents for isolating two genes, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, that indicate a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The company now markets tests for those genes.

BRCA1 is the gene carried by actress Angelina Jolie, who determined after a test that she was at higher risk of developing breast cancer and chose to have a double mastectomy.

The court said that Myriad had found something important and useful, but it ruled that “groundbreaking, innovative, or even brilliant discovery” does not by itself guarantee a patent.



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