Updated on 17 June 2013
The propagators of this thought in the scientific community even brought out a long forgotten interview of American medical researcher, Mr Jonas Salk, who become the man behind the world's first successful polio vaccine. 'Could you patent the sun?' Mr Salk had questioned in the interview.
Myriad argued that its patents are not on the genes as they exist in the human body, but on isolated, modified versions that have been snipped from the genome and chemically altered to make them useful in a laboratory. This, the company argued makes them human inventions and therefore eligible to be patented.
Supporters of Myriad, like Biotechnology Industry Organisation (BIO) and the Animal Health Institute, believe that if gene patenting is ruled invalid then companies would stop investing in genetics research as there would be no probability of profit from discoveries.
Questioning the monopolies created by companies that own patents to such human genes, Mr David Koepsell, author of Who Owns You: The Corporate Gold Rush to Patent Your Genes had defined patents as 'government-sponsored monopolies.' "Biotech companies and other corporations need to be made to compete with the actual values of their products. Even setting this radical argument aside, gene patents are not the most economically efficient way to exploit publicly funded science, nor necessary to spur useful innovation in drugs."
ACLU had further argued that patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2 are harmful to patients and create barriers to medical and scientific advancement. "Gene patents also have a chilling effect on research. Researchers must either obtain permission from the patent holder, or run the risk of being sued. And by virtue of its patents, Myriad controls most of the data about the BRCA genes and has refused to share that information with the scientific community," ACLU presented in court.