Patents not allowed on human genes, court determines

06/13/2013 // West Palm Beach , Florida, US // JusticeNewsFlash // Justice News Flash // (press release)

Washington – The Supreme Court has ruled that human genes cannot be patented by companies. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), the unanimous ruling of the court on Thursday reverses decades of government awarded patents, and may have an impact on the medical and biotechnology industries.

Justice Clarence Thomas is quoted by the AP as writing for the court in its decision, “We hold that a naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated.”

Patents thrown out by the ruling include those held by Salt Lake City-based Myriad Genetics Inc. on a breast cancer test in which DNA is isolated to assess breast and ovarian cancer risks.

Sandra Park, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union Women’s Rights Project is quoted in the report as stating of the ruling, “Today, the court struck down a major barrier to patient care and medical innovation… Myriad did not invent the BRCA genes and should not control them. Because of this ruling, patients will have greater access to genetic testing and scientists can engage in research on these genes without fear of being sued.”

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