Author: David Resnick

The battle over “gene patents” continues: the Department of Justice brief

Human GeneticsIn an earlier Vector post, I explained that Judge Sweet’s decision in The Association of Molecular Pathology v. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (also known as the ACLU v. Myriad case), invalidating Myriad Genetics patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2 DNA and testing, was only the first step in a long process to a final decision.  The next step was Myriad’s appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the federal court that hears all appeals in patent.  Myriad did file an appeal and as part of that process, interested parties were invited to file amicus curiae or friend of the court briefs.

Last week, many in the life sciences community were shocked when the Department of Justice (DOJ), representing the U.S.  government, filed a brief advocating for a change in policy on  the patent-eligibility of isolated genomic DNA. 

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The battle over “gene patents”: ACLU v. Myriad Genetics

Will complacency allow patent protections to come apart?

The merits of “gene patents” – patents directed to DNA sequences including disease-associated mutations — have been debated for years: Do they stifle genetic research, or promote it? Are gene patents essential for the commercialization of genetic testing? Do they raise the cost of medical care?  As a patent attorney with a focus in the life sciences, I find that these questions are being raised more frequently now. Why? What’s happened? In a word, ACLU v. Myriad Genetics.

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