Myriad Genetics and the American Civil Liberties Union are taking the next step in their court battle over the legitimacy of Myriad's BRCA patents. As our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News reports, a US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld Myriad's right to patent the genes, and then declined to rehear the case. The ACLU is now going to the Supreme Court in its bid to get the patents overturned.
At Mother Jones, Azeen Ghorayshi says that if the court rules against Myriad, the effects could be far-reaching, not the least of which would be that other companies could start making BRCA tests. Myriad says that taking away the right to patent genes would decrease the industry's incentive to do research and create diagnostics. But the University of California, Berkeley's Michael Eisen tells Ghorayshi that "granting patents on genetic information not only obstructs progress in both basic research and medicine, it is an intellectually ludicrous practice."