Updated on 17 June 2013
US Supreme Court passed a historic judgement in the four-year-long epic battle over gene patenting
Singapore: The US Supreme Court has put an end to the epic four-year-long lawsuit involving Association for Molecular Pathology Vs Myriad Genetics. The Supreme Court gave a win-win verdict for all the stakeholders involded in the case.
In question was the patentability of two genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2 by Utah-based Biotech firm, Myriad Genetics.
Although the Supreme Court invalidated the patents held by Myriad Genetics, the court unanimously ruled that while naturally isolated DNA is not patentable, synthetically created exon-only strands of nucleotides; ie complementary (c)DNA is patentable.
The verdict that has brought about a major reversal in longstanding patent policy in the US, stated that five of Myriad's claims covering isolated DNA are not eligible for patents. "A naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated, but cDNA is patent eligible because it is not naturally occurring," the court held.
The court decision doesn't completely mean Myriad's downfall, as the company has a large set of unchallenged patents surrounding is BRACAnalysis test. The company said that that it holds more than 500 "valid and enforceable" claims in 24 different patents "conferring strong patent protection" for its test.