Finally some patent sanity

I’ve been casually following the litigation related to the patent mess surrounding BRCA1 and BRCA2 (see here and here for my previous comments). In short, those are two human genes linked to an increased likelihood of developing breast cancer. Their sequences were patented some years ago by the University of Utah, where they were identified, and exclusively licensed to a private company called Myriad Genetics.

Today, the US Supreme Court ruled on a separate but related case covering a patent for a medical diagnostic test. The Court found the patent invalid because it was not far removed from natural processes, which are not patentable. Experts in biotech patent law suspect that this ruling may set precedent that extends to the BRCA1 case. This would be a welcome development, and a sign of sanity in the fairly insane world that is the US patent system.

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