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CollegeFBRules
LSU Fan
Member since Oct 2008
20337 posts

Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented

quote:

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that natural human genes cannot be patented by companies, but it said that synthetically produced genetic material can.

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 human genes, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, that indicate a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The company now markets tests for those genes.

Myriad said before the ruling that it never wanted to patent genes in people’s bodies — only the molecules of DNA that it creates in the lab to test patients and determine their cancer risks. Opponents disputed that characterization and said the company was trying to control all testing and research on the BRCA genes.

Wall Street appeared to view the ruling as a win for the company. Myriad stock soared 11 percent after it was handed down.

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.
The opinion was written by Justice Clarence Thomas.

The justices had wrestled with whether Myriad’s work was a product of invention or nature. The biotechnology industry warned that a ruling against the company would threaten billions of dollars in investment.

The government has already granted patents on 4,000 human genes, mostly to companies and universities.

An oral argument in April was so deeply technical — introns, exons and messenger RNA were all discussed in detail — that justices and lawyers alike had to grope for everyday analogies.
Gregory Castanias, a lawyer for Myriad, likened the isolation of genes to the creation of a baseball bat, which “doesn’t exist until it’s isolated from a tree.”

“But that’s still the product of human invention,” he said, “to decide where to begin the bat and where to end the bat.”

Doctors and scientists who challenged the patents said that their research had been hindered. The lawyer arguing for them said that Myriad deserved credit for unlocking the secrets of genes — just not a patent.

“One way to address the question presented by this case is: What exactly did Myriad invent?” asked the lawyer, Christopher Hansen of the American Civil Liberties Union. “And the answer is nothing.”

Justices on both sides of the ideological spectrum seemed concerned about whether companies like Myriad would scale back investment in research if they were not rewarded with patents.

“What does Myriad get out of this deal?” Justice Elena Kagan wondered. “Why shouldn’t we worry that Myriad or companies like it will just say, well, you know, we’re not going to do this work anymore?
Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, representing the Obama administration, argued that manipulating a gene into something new might qualify for patent protection, but that isolating what’s already there should not.

The administration has supported the compromise position — allowing patents for synthetically produced genetic material but not natural genes themselves.

The case challenged seven Myriad patents that are set to expire in 2015.


LINK

Excellent news. No company or entity should be able to patent something that naturally occurs within the human body.
This post was edited on 6/13 at 11:09 am



kingbob
LSU Fan
Sorrento, LA
Member since Nov 2010
23854 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
SCOTUS just posted several decisions, but I haven't read through them yet.


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Tigah in the ATL
LSU Fan
Atlanta
Member since Feb 2005
26407 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
that is good news


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EST
LSU Fan
Investigating
Member since Oct 2003
14917 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
Sucks for Myriad.


Scruffy
USA Fan
Member since Jul 2011
38615 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
frick Myriad.


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LSUDVM1999
LSU Fan
North Carolina
Member since Aug 2010
828 posts
Online

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented


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BigJim
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2010
4202 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
Shame when the obvious is good news.

And I say that as a fan of IP and patents in general.


Volvagia
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Mar 2006
41846 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
Thank fricking god.

This was a MASSIVE clusterfrick in the making in so many ways.

They should go further and make all non novel genes unable to be patented.

I don't know where to draw the line though.

The work behind insulin production for instance, frick yeah I would want to patent that shite.


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I B Freeman
Member since Oct 2009
8459 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
Interesting that former Monsanto lawyer Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion.


Volvagia
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Mar 2006
41846 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
What on earth does that have to do with anything?


They working on human-corn hybrids or something?

Even if they were (and I was being scarastic), this doesn't prevent them from patenting a genetically modified product.


I B Freeman
Member since Oct 2009
8459 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
quote:

What on earth does that have to do with anything?


They working on human-corn hybrids or something?

Even if they were (and I was being scarastic), this doesn't prevent them from patenting a genetically modified product.


Just indicates there is a GMO patent limit even in the minds of a former Monsanto guy.


Volvagia
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Mar 2006
41846 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
Did you miss the part where I said this means nothing regarding patenting GMOs?

In multiple contexts at that.


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Zed
Alabama Fan
Member since Feb 2010
8301 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
I don't disagree with the decision, but does this affect medical research at all?


Volvagia
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Mar 2006
41846 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
Yeah, it encourages it.

If they ruled the other way there would have been a HUGE bottleneck 15-20+ years down.


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Volvagia
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Mar 2006
41846 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
Let's say there is one common gene critically involved in all cancer (there isn't, but bear with me).

Company A patents it and sits on it.

Company B finds miracle drug that inhibits gene product of A's patent, which combined with current treatment effectively cures cancer.

Company A sues company B, demanding a royalty for each unit of drug sold.


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Scruffy
USA Fan
Member since Jul 2011
38615 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
It positively affects it. It is a positive for those seeking genetic testing too.

Myriad had a monopoly of the market for a very specific and common genetic mutation, BRCA1 and 2. It is commonly associated with breast cancer. They had patented the mutation and because of that, only they could sell the test to detect it.

This ruling allows other companies to produce tests this reducing the price and it prevents this situation from repeating itself.


I believe that is about it.
This post was edited on 6/13 at 11:10 am


EST
LSU Fan
Investigating
Member since Oct 2003
14917 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
quote:

This ruling allows other companies to produce tests this reducing the price and it prevents this situation from repeating itself.


What about the investments made by Myriad to discover the gene and develop the test? That has to account for something.



Scruffy
USA Fan
Member since Jul 2011
38615 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
quote:

What about the investments made by Myriad to discover the gene and develop the test? That has to account for something.
Sure. They can patent their ability to find the gene and their specific test.


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Volvagia
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Mar 2006
41846 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented
quote:

What about the investments made by Myriad to discover the gene and develop the test? That has to account for something.


They can patent their methodology in testing for the gene.

However, what they cannot do is block other companies from developing their own methodologies.

That's what patenting a gene would result in. NO company would be able to research and develop a commerical product that involves that gene, no matter the means or reason, without first getting permission from the company with the gene patent.


GoBigOrange86
Tennessee Fan
Lowcountry, The South, USA
Member since Jun 2008
14218 posts

re: Supreme Court: Natural Human Genes Cannot be Patented


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