Could Gene Patents Become a Thing of the past?

3 11 2009

U.S. Federal Judge Robert Sweet (Manhattan) has agreed to hear a lawsuit challenging patents on two human genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

The lawsuit has been brought by the American Civil Liberties Union challenged patents held by Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation on grounds that genes are “products of nature” and cannot be patented.”

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in May on behalf of women’s health groups, geneticists and scientific associations representing approximately 150,000 researchers, pathologists and laboratory professionals, and concerns patents for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. The wider issues are patents for genes in general. Note, the issue is not genetic engineering, but rather patenting scientific discoveries.


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