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Old 03-07-2012, 10:39 PM   #1
BAMseek
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Default What can we do about gene patents?

Illumina recently announced its cancer panel. BRCA1 and BRCA2 are, of course, left out due to patents on these crucial genes involved in breast and ovarian cancers. Cancer panels provided by other institutions will probably follow suit. We are at a crucial juncture before a potential Supreme Court ruling that could seal the fate of our genes. Is there anything that we as a community can do to make a difference?

Somewhat off the main point, but related . . . If these genes can't be included in a targeted-capture panel, can you target the reverse-complement sequence? The patent is on the gene, and the gene is on just one of the two strands - so why not just go after the other strand? Probably wouldn't fly, but I just thought I would throw that out there.

I would like to do something, rather than just sit around and see what happens, but not quite sure what best to do. Any ideas?

thanks,
Justin
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:39 AM   #2
Joann
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Default You can answer a USPTO request for comments

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has requested comments from the public and is currently holding public hearings around the topic of genetic diagnostic testing.

Read the Federal Register announcement giving details and instructions on how to submit your comments--you can do so by e-mail. They will become part of the public record on this matter.

Request for Comments and Notice of Public Hearings on Genetic Diagnostic
Testing
(link to Federal Register announcement)
http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementat...ing-notice.pdf

You can PM me if you have any questions.
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:13 PM   #3
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Thanks, Joann. That is very interesting. Looks like the second of the public hearings is tomorrow (March 9), so it will be interesting to follow what comes of that.

Justin
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:32 PM   #4
Joann
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Default You can answer a USPTO request for comments

From the public hearings, there are usually transcripts/video available afterwards for review. And March 26 is the deadline for submitting additional comment by email. I aim to inspect hearings proceedings and then see what I can add in an e-mail comment that doesn't duplicate previous comments.
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:15 PM   #5
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Default Update

Check your news services for digested info about important SCOTUS ruling today bearing on gene patents as finding for laws of nature not patentable.
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joann View Post
Check your news services for digested info about important SCOTUS ruling today bearing on gene patents as finding for laws of nature not patentable.
Hi Joann,

Are you referring to the ruling in the Prometheus case about blood monitoring of drug dosages? Definitely looks like a step in the right direction, although I am not sure how it affects the case against gene patents. While the Prometheus case dealt with observing and measuring a natural phenomenon occurring in humans, the gene patent case deals with the act of isolating and purifying a gene outside of humans. Thanks for the update!

Justin
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:53 PM   #7
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Connecting the dots. Previously the DOJ wrote a very good (IMHO) amicus for the Myriad case centered on discoveries of natural law* that would invalidate gene patents. This and other amici can be found online as well as that case complainants' appeals which are headed to SCOTUS. If you can't find them, and want to look at them, let me know and I will post links here.

*This position is also supported by other decisions rejecting patenting too far upstream in the biotech area.
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Old 03-30-2012, 09:35 AM   #8
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Latest in the BRCA gene patent case:

Supreme Court Orders New Look at Gene Patents

Appeals court will take another look at the case in light of the ruling in the Prometheus case. Probably will just delay a definitive decision on the matter for a while.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:16 AM   #9
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Time for total industry realignment. So Myriad should settle.
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:23 PM   #10
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move to a country where these patents don't apply
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:51 AM   #11
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Latest news involving gene patents, this time with 23andMe on a gene related to Parkinson's disease:

http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/05...s-hackles.html
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Old 06-12-2012, 05:30 PM   #12
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The Perils of Gene Patents

Interesting background and perspective on gene patents.
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Old 06-15-2012, 08:55 AM   #13
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I believe there is another appeals court hearing scheduled for July in the Myriad case. I also think as previously mentioned the Ariad-Eli Lilly case is important--it looks like Eli Lilly had exceptionally good legal advice at the time they set up and engaged in their bench research and development and it held in the case that came of it-- really helps clarify the current gene patent problems now. From a different perspective, I think it is incumbent upon scientists to simply learn more about intellectual property and the role that patents (good patents and bad patents) play in helping to assemble the commercial milieu that supports product availability, or not, and to have this knowledge in their tool kits. Also I am very much in favor of less secrecy in the biological sciences--bioinformatic dissemination of information has really lifted the standards on secrecy and accessibility, in my opinion, in a very healthy way and I can only encourage these developments further.

Last edited by Joann; 06-15-2012 at 12:28 PM. Reason: company name correction
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:36 AM   #14
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Interesting article about the implications of proprietary databases of genetic variants, focusing on Myriad.

https://www.eshg.org/fileadmin/eshg/Downloads/EJHG_Paper_RCD_October_31_2012.pdf
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:26 AM   #15
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U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear challenge against Myriad, probably in March and rule by the end of June.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/201...echnology-test
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Old 04-25-2013, 03:34 PM   #16
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Default Sotomayor: What's the difference?

On Monday April 15 oral arguments were heard at the US Supreme Court concerning gene patents. This link takes you to the transcript of the oral arguments conducted during that session, prior to the decision which will issue in the next several months.

http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arg...2-398-amc7.pdf

A key exchange for me is the question asked by Justice Sotomayor of Myriad's lawyer in reference to some of the challenged patent claims (see page 56):

So what's the difference? I mean, if you cut off a piece of the whole in the kidney or liver, you're saying that's not patentable, but you take a gene and snip off a piece, that is? What's the difference between the two--
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Old 06-13-2013, 09:49 AM   #17
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Default full US court excludes human gene patents

The unanimous decision by the US Supreme Court can be downloaded here:
http://www.ACLU.org/free-speech-tech...iad-genetics-0
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