March 29, 2010

Zowie! [7:22 pm]

NYC judge: DNA isolated in genes can’t be patented [pdf]

In a ruling with potentially far-reaching implications for the patenting of human genes, a judge on Monday struck down a company’s patents on two genes linked to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet challenging whether anyone can hold patents on human genes was expected to have broad implications for the biotechnology industry and genetics-based medical research.

Sweet said he invalidated the patents because DNAs existence in an isolated form does not alter the fundamental quality of DNA as it exists in the body nor the information it encodes.

He rejected arguments that it was acceptable to grant patents on DNA sequences as long as they are claimed in the form of “isolated DNA.”

“Many, however, including scientists in the fields of molecular biology and genomics, have considered this practice a `lawyers trick that circumvents the prohibitions on the direct patenting of the DNA in our bodies but which, in practice, reaches the same result,” he said.

If we’re lucky, something may eventually turn up here to read: Rulings of Interest. IN the interim, here’s the ACLU press release: Patents On Breast Cancer Genes Ruled Invalid In ACLU/PubPat Case; and their posting of the ruling [local copy]

Later: Judge Invalidates Human Gene Patent [pdf]

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