Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Judge hears arguments over rights to gene patents

From the Washington Post:

"A judge on Tuesday weighed whether a lawsuit should proceed that seeks to invalidate a company's patents on two genes linked to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
The case challenging whether anyone can hold patents on human genes has broad implications for the biotechnology industry and genetics-based medical research.
Last March, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation sued Myriad Genetics Inc., the University of Utah Research Foundation and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
The ACLU and the patent foundation say Myriad's refusal to license the patents broadly has meant that women who fear they may be at risk of breast or ovarian cancer are prevented from having anyone but Myriad look at the genes in question."
I'm pleased this one has finally reached the inside of a courtroom but not necessarily that optimistic about the outcome.  Myriad Genetics have been exploiting these patents in a variety of jurisdictions for quite a long time now in patent life terms (since between 1997 and 2000 in the US for example though a number of the patents have been revoked in the EU).

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