Wednesday, October 24, 2012

US Supreme Court is asked to rule on validity of patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes

News Brief by Denali Rao

The University of Utah Research Foundation and a Utah company, Myriad Genetics, hold contentious patents on two human genes: BRCA1 and BRCA2. The fact that these genes are associated with breast and ovarian cancer is just one point used to argue that the patents must be overturned: open research on these genes could save lives. Another argument deals with the legal aspect: under US law, patents cannot be made on “'laws of nature' [or] 'products of nature'”. The ACLU and Public Patent Foundation argue that the human genome, whether certain genes are isolated or not, is a product of nature.
The same groups, the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation, are among groups asking the Supreme Court to review these patents. So far, the lower courts have gone back and forth about this issue. The patents have appeared in various courts three times. The Supreme Court “is expected to allow Myriad to respond” before deciding to take the case on.

Dyer, C. 2012. US Supreme Court is asked to rule on validity of patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. 

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