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Old 06-13-2013, 08:05 AM   #1
Richard Finney
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Default U.S. Supreme Court : "Can't Patent Genes"

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that companies cannot patent parts of naturally-occurring human genes, a decision with the potential to profoundly affect the emerging and lucrative medical and biotechnology industries.
The high court's unanimous judgment reverses three decades of patent awards by government officials.
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Old 06-13-2013, 09:42 AM   #2
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It seems to me that for all practical purposes, the Myriad gene patents are upheld (wall street seems to agree with that too). Even though isolated DNA is not eligible for patents like it was before, the cDNA product that is created in the lab is still eligible for patents. So our genes are patent-free but we are blind to read them?

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Old 06-13-2013, 10:01 AM   #3
Richard Finney
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The Supreme Court this morning ruled that human DNA cannot be patented. On the surface it appears to be a blow to Myriad Genetics, which was holding patents on two isolated genes, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, and was at the center of the case. The genes can help indicate whether a woman has a heightened risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer, and it was the companyís test based upon them that convinced the actress Angelina Jolie to recently undergo a double-mastectomy.

But the ability to patent another type of DNA, known as cDNA, was upheld, and itís this partial verdict that has Myriad shares up. The court said DNA molecules synthesized in a laboratory were eligible for patent protection.

Dang. Myriad won. You can't patent genes but you can patent the cDNA of the genes. So any practical assay of of BRCA1 and BRCA2 are owned by Myriad? You need cDNA to assay it , right?
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:44 PM   #4
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Only if you are going to try to make money off of it. Then you just have to negotiate licensing. It doesn't interfere with non-profit research. At least that's what I've learned from the patents office where I work.
/* Shawn Driscoll, Gene Expression Laboratory, Pfaff
Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, USA */
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Old 06-14-2013, 10:37 AM   #5
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Don't all human mrna tissue samples get converted to cDNA for sequencing? I guess the question is how novel is patenting a cDNA? It seems like just about every MicroArray or RNA-seq experiment could potentially generate BRCA1 inadvertently, I am pretty sure they were producing cDNA of BRCA1 before they applied for a patent. Unless the scope is narrowed to producing a BRCA1 cDNA for a specific purpose maybe gene replacement therapy for instance, then it doesn't make much sense.
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