Well this is unfortunate, but not too surprising. After the Supreme Court rejected
medical diagnostic patents in the Mayo case, it vacated
the ruling by the Federal Circuit appeals court (CAFC) on gene patents in the Myriad Genetics case, where CAFC had said genes are patentable
, and asked it to redo the case in light of the Mayo decision. The ruling came out today, and CAFC more or less repeated what it said in the original ruling
. The same panel of three judges effectively argued that Mayo had no real impact on what it said last year, and it was sticking by its decision. The Patently-O link above has a bit more detail, or you can read the full 106 pages
(pdf and embedded below), which includes all three panelists entering their opinions (one dissenting). If you read last years, you'll find this one pretty similar, with just a few nods to why they were redoing the process.
All that really matters at this point is that isolated genes are still considered patentable
. Even though people like James Watson, who was as part of the team that discovered DNA's structure, have argued that this kind of ruling is pure lunacy
, the court is sticking by its position.
The case is likely far from over and there's a decent chance that it, too, will end up in front of the Supreme Court, where they'll have yet another chance to smack CAFC around for being overly infatuated with letting everything in the world be patentable. First up, though, will likely be an attempt to rehear the case "en banc" (with the full slate of CAFC judges, rather than just the three-judge panel). In other words, this is far from over, but if you're in the camp of folks who think the idea of patenting your genes is insanity, well, we're still living in an insane world.