Breaking News: Federal Appeals Court Once Again Upholds Gene Patents, Invalidates Comparison Method Patents

| August 16, 2012

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit announced that it once again partially reversed a lower court’s ruling in the Myriad gene patent case. In a 2-1 decision, the federal court of appeals ruled that companies can patent genes, but cannot patent methods to compare those gene sequences.

This is the second time the Federal appeals court has considered this lawsuit. The Supreme Court vacated this court’s July 2011 decision following the high court’s unanimous ruling in favor of Mayo Collaborative Services in its medical patent suit against Prometheus Laboratories. The Supreme Court then remanded it back to the Federal appeals court in light of the Mayo decision.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is representing plaintiffs (including the CAP) in a suit challenging gene patents on human DNA, specifically Myriad Genetics’ patent claims on BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes. CAP and other medical societies and organizations provided amicus briefs in support of Mayo at various points in the litigation.

“It is extremely disappointing that despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, the appeals court has failed to fully re-consider the facts of this case,” said ACLU attorney Chris Hansen. “This ruling prevents doctors and scientists from exchanging their ideas and research freely. Human DNA is a natural entity like air or water. It does not belong to any one company.”

The ACLU declined to comment on what this means for the future of the case, except to say their attorneys are weighing all legal options and will discuss future strategies with the plaintiffs.

Category: Pathology News

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