Judge rules that genetic patents are invalid in ACLU lawsuit against Myriad

29 03 2010

Last year, several doctors’ groups, together with the ACLU and Public Patent Foundation, filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate patents on two genes related to breast cancer, owned by Utah-based Myriad Genetics. The lawsuit is a broad attack on all genetic patents and argued they are, in fact, not only illegal under the patent laws, but unconstitutional.

This afternoon, the doctors’ groups won. New York district court judge Robert Sweet ruled on summary judgment motions from both sides. In a 156-page opinion [PDF], he found for the plaintiffs, and has invalidated Myriad’s patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, saying they are patents on the natural world and don’t conform to section 101 of the patent laws, which govern what is eligible for patenting. Myriad’s cross-motion for summary judgment was denied.

The full name of the case is Association for Molecular Pathology et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office et al.

Read Judge Sweet’s opinion [PDF].

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