The Association of Molecular Pathology, et al. versus the United States Patent and Trademark Office, et al. case on gene patents has headed to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. According to Nature's Great Beyond blog, "much of the 65-minute session focused on the legal question at the heart of the case: do the manipulations that Myriad performed in isolating the genes merit patent protection, or is Myriad claiming unwarranted ownership of naturally-occurring DNA — ownership that the patent system should not validate?" Last year, Judge Robert Sweet ruled that isolated DNA was found in nature and thus was not eligible for a patent. AMP and the American Civil Liberties Union made that same argument during yesterday's hearings. "The human gene is a product of nature and no more patentable than a human kidney," said the ACLU's Chris Hansen in a statement. Greg Castanias, an attorney for the defendants, however, argued that "isolated DNA does not exist in nature" and could not exist without human ingenuity, reports the Great Beyond blog.
Our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on the case here.