Judge: Gene Patents Are Invalid
from the huge-news dept
"are directed to a law of nature and were therefore improperly granted."The case was brought against Myriad Genetics, who will surely appeal, so this is nowhere close to over. But it involved a test for breast cancer, that Myriad basically had a monopoly over -- and the claim was that this not only made it more difficult for women to get tested, but it also greatly discouraged other research in the field. In part, this was because the patents that Myriad held were incredibly broad.
Patents, of course, are not supposed to be granted on things found in in nature -- and it's hard to argue against the idea that genes are found in nature. Supporters of gene patents often claim that they're not really gene patents, but a patent on identifying the gene, which is a nice semantic game that the judge clearly saw through. This is a huge step forward for encouraging more real research into genetic testing, rather than locking up important information.