Myriad Loses Again: Patents On Genetic Testing Ruled Invalid

from the now-go-forth-and-innovate dept

Back in 2013, the Supreme Court struck down patents that Myriad Genetics had obtained on naturally-occuring DNA sequences linked to breast cancer. As a result of that judgment, other companies started offering diagnostic tests based on the genes in question. Myriad claimed that despite losing patents on the DNA, its patents on tests based on that DNA were still valid, and took legal action to stop others from offering similar services. As we reported earlier this year, a federal district court judge refused to grant Myriad a preliminary injunction against one of those new entrants, and now the genetic testing patents have been ruled invalid, as Bloomberg reports:

Myriad Genetics Inc. (MYGN) can’t block competitors’ DNA tests to determine risk for breast and ovarian cancer after a U.S. appeals court said three patents on the tests never should have been issued.

The patents cover products of nature and ideas that aren’t eligible for legal protection, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said in an opinion posted today on the court’s docket. The court upheld a trial judge’s decision to allow the competing tests, including those made by Ambry Genetics Corp., to remain on the market.

That’s great news for women who can now choose freely from among a range of diagnostic options, often at prices substantially less than comparable testing offered by Myriad. It means that Myriad’s monopoly on data derived from those tests has been broken: thanks to its patents, it has created the world’s largest database of mutations in breast cancer genes. Most importantly, perhaps, it opens up the field of gene-based diagnostic testing to allow new entrants to experiment and innovate more freely. That, rather than granting monopolies to a few companies, is far more likely to lead to new medical breakthroughs, products and services.

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Companies: myriad genetics

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Comments on “Myriad Loses Again: Patents On Genetic Testing Ruled Invalid”

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Anonymous Coward says:

shame the same thing doesn’t happen with the entertainment industries. we would probably have much clearer video, much crisper sound and much smaller files sizes that make them easier to transport. if it were not for Hollywood etc, we may even have had much better reproduction on the screen, but when anyone gets near to discovering something new and beneficial to the film makers as well as the customers, the entertainment industries jump on it from a great height and keep us using the same things from 10 years ago! if they weren’t so pathetic, they could be called selfish!!

That One Guy (profile) says:

'No friend of mine'

I can only imagine that none of the lawyers for Myriad have families or friends.

Really, how would you react if, upon asking ‘So how was your day/week?’ someone responded with ‘Been filing legal papers attempting to stop other companies from offering cheaper breast cancer screening’. To me at least, that would probably be a ‘Shunned for life’ event there, someone so focused on money and profits that they were willing to try and squash others offering vital medical tests, would not be someone I would care to associate with.

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