A Federal Appeals Court Is Leaning Toward Ruling Yes, You Can Patent Isolated Genes


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It looks like the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit might be sticking to its guns during a Supreme Court-mandated review of whether isolated genes can be patented.Following a recent high court ruling that set tighter rules for medical-testing patents, the Supreme Court ordered the appeals court to review its year-old decision that upheld Myriad Genetics Inc.’s patents on two genes, the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog reported Friday.

The patented genes can reveal whether a woman has increased risks of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

The three appeals court judges heard oral arguments Friday but even after a year, they don’t seem too inclined to change their ruling.

Judge Alan Lourie, who wrote the majority opinion last time around, seemed to reiterate his views that Myriad wasn’t trying to patent a product of nature, saying the company’s process of extracting and isolating a single gene from the body separates that gene from DNA that exists naturally, according to Law Blog.

Judge Kimberly Moore, who sided with Lourie last July, said on Friday that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has long allowed DNA sequences’ patents.

Judge William Bryson, the lone dissenter last year, seemed to stick to his opinion as well, saying the gene sequences were scientific facts and therefore could not be patented, Law Blog reported.

Opponents of the initial ruling, including medical groups, claim Myriad is patenting “products of nature,” adding that gene patents disrupt treatment and research, according to Law Blog.

A decision should be handed down within a few months.

DON’T MISS: The 10 Most Intriguing White Collar Fugitives >

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.