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Cattle Genome Patent in Australian Court

The cattle genome has headed to court in Australia over ownership claims, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports.

It adds that there's a hearing this week in Federal Court in Melbourne regarding a 2010 patent issued to Cargill USA and Branhaven called "Compositions, methods and systems for inferring bovine traits."

After the patent was issued, both Meat and Livestock Australia and Dairy Australia appealed it, contending that it was so broad that it could cover nearly all economically important traits in the cattle genome.

"The organizations believe the patent will maintain the high price of genomic testing for beef and dairy farmers, while also having a chilling effect on Australian research into cattle genomics," ABC adds.

A Meat and Livestock Australia attorney further argued in court that the patent covers methods to identify traits that would have been known to genomic scientists at the patent's 2003 priority date, while a Branhaven attorney countered that those approaches were theoretical at that time and that their efforts in using them and uncovering traits was a real invention, according to ABC. It notes that Cargill Australia is not defending the patent.