A federal appeals court has ruled that genes can be patented, and upheld Myriad Genetics' patents for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, reports The New York Times' Andrew Pollack. Myriad uses the genes as the basis for its BRCAnalysis diagnostic test to detect mutations in the BRCA genes. In March 2010, New York Southern District Court Judge Robert Sweet invalidated the patents and said that genes can't be patented because they are products of nature. But the appeals court ruled that genes isolated from the body are patentable because they are different from how they exist in the body, Pollack says. However, the appeals court did rule against Myriad on the issue of the company's patents for the method it uses to analyze the genes. The decision was being anxiously awaited by many. "The decision on the patentability of genes and DNA cheered much, though not all, of the biotechnology industry. Thousands of human genes have been patented, and some biotechnology executives say such patents are essential for encouraging innovation," Pollack says.
Myriad Decision Made
Aug 01, 2011