Australian Court Disagrees With US: Claim Genes Are Totally Patentable

from the sucks-to-be-DownUnder dept

Last year, the Supreme Court made an important ruling in the Myriad Genetics case, effectively saying that genes aren't patentable, even if you can separate them out from the rest of a strand of DNA. Myriad Genetics had isolated two key genes related to breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2 and argued that only it could test for those genes, because of its patent. The Supreme Court soundly rejected that, noting that you cannot patent something in nature, and clearly Myriad did not "make" the genes. Unfortunately, as we'd noted just a few months earlier, a court in Australia had come to the opposite conclusion, saying that Myriad Genetics had legitimate patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2. That case was appealed, and there was some hope that after the US's ruling, higher courts in Australia might see the light. Not yet apparently. An appeals court has agreed that genes are patentable Down Under, which means that such important genetic tests there are likely to be much more expensive and limited.

You can read the full ruling here if you'd like. The case can still be appealed to the Australian High Court, so perhaps it will take the same trajectory as in the US, where it needed the Supreme Court to finally point out the absolute insanity of patenting genes. Though, frankly, if Australia does keeps genes patentable, it might make for an interesting natural experiment to see how much innovation and research happens in both places -- one with, and one without, patents.

Filed Under: australia, brca1, brca2, breast cancer, dna, genes, patents
Companies: myriad genetics


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2014 @ 1:44pm

    the Aussies are going a bit haywire at the moment, it seems, having a bit of a job deciding which country to drop trousers for!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Kronomex, 9 Sep 2014 @ 4:08pm

      Re:

      Haywire is such a a polite word for the scumbag pollies that ruin...run...the country for their paymasters. Here in Australia it has become a case of "not what you know but how big the brown envelopes of money you pay to the politicians." The LNP stopped wearing trousers months ago, they wear containers of lotion that drip onto their raw dry anuses to keep them oiled for the next fucking by their corporate masters.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2014 @ 1:49pm

    Cue the rush of US companies applying for gene patents in Australia,

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Geno0wl (profile), 9 Sep 2014 @ 1:53pm

    I guess the Aussie judges are more easily bought than US judges.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2014 @ 1:58pm

    Did anyone care to let these people know that Big Pharma now owns the patents on their existence?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2014 @ 1:58pm

    How sick is it that part of what makes a human a human is owned by a company.

    Slavery by any other name...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2014 @ 2:03pm

    Clearly Australia won't be coming out with any new gene related biotech thanks to the rent-seekers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2014 @ 2:13pm

    The world's largest case of copyright infringement

    Now Myriad Genetics can sue anyone they want.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Trevor, 9 Sep 2014 @ 2:35pm

    Well I guess Australia...

    puts on sunglasses

    ...let the genie out of the bottle.

    YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 9 Sep 2014 @ 3:28pm

    Sue them

    Since they own the gene, they are now responsible for it. Sue them for mass murder.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Maxwell (profile), 9 Sep 2014 @ 3:36pm

    Driving up the costs!

    And i tought Australians were sick and tired of paying so much more than the Americans for the same stuff...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2014 @ 4:12pm

      Re: Driving up the costs!

      Different group of Australians. Those making the decisions are getting kickbacks which more than offset the increased prices.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 9 Sep 2014 @ 3:58pm

    You know how it took so long for the US to get movies & tv shows on the galleon sailing to Oz?
    Well now they are exporting the worst things from the US there trying to get another shot at world domination.
    Copyright insanity hit the shores, now bad patents that they will try to use use in other places.
    Perhaps they can even get a court to let them sue for lost business under those trade agreements they keep trying to sneak in.

    I feel bad for Oz, they are having to fight the same crap we did years ago... and they don't know how bad it will get... because we didn't get the history lesson on the galleon soon enough.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2014 @ 4:25pm

    if they own the cancer killing you.....

    sue the hell out of 'em!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mr Big Content, 9 Sep 2014 @ 4:49pm

    Got Gave Us Genes, And God Gave Us Patents

    Of course God wants us to have Gene Patents.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2014 @ 5:47pm

    The proper maneuver now is to patent the genes that determine a persons race, then sue people of that race for infringment anytime they have children. Sit back and watch the shitstorm go nuclear.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2014 @ 7:08pm

    I observed it - therefore I own it

    It's amazing - you can patent something you did not make.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    LewisV (profile), 10 Sep 2014 @ 2:04am

    "Australian Court Disagrees With US: Claim Genes Are Totally Patentable"

    Personally, I think it is a crime against humanity for trying to claim a legal right of ownership over any part of it. By other actions as well, and without any regard to it's citizens, Australia has earned the title of Copyright Capital of the World. It's a corporate IP friendly country with a government which lacks any form of common sense.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2014 @ 7:18am

    Same tyranny different talking heads.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 10 Sep 2014 @ 9:01am

    Just wait

    The day will come when someone violates a patent by having a child.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    AR (profile), 11 Sep 2014 @ 12:26am

    Well let them if thats what they want. This isnt Australia. When they try to enforce it here, tell them to go down under where they came from.

    Sometimes you cant fix stupid

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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