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Headed Back to Court

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union and Myriad Genetics headed back to court last Friday to argue about whether isolated DNA is a product of nature or whether it is eligible to be patented, reports Bloomberg Businessweek. The lawyers appeared before the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to make their cases; the Supreme Court ordered the appeals court to re-hear the case involved patents on the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 after the Prometheus v. Mayo decision that also dealt with patents. Last year, the court ruled in favor of Myriad's claim that isolated DNA could be patented.

"We need to be sure that natural things and all natural laws are available to all mankind," said Chris Hansen, a lawyer for the ACLU, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The Myriad claims "cover every conceivable form of DNA," he added.

Myriad lawyer Greg Castanias of Jones Day disagreed. "The patent claims reflect not naturally occurring, but human-made compositions that were the product of human ingenuity," he said. "This is not the patenting of a natural product or something so close to a natural product that it can't be patented."

Daily Scan's sister publication Pharmacogenomics Reporter has more on the arguments here.

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