The Supreme Court Identifies Categories of Patent-Eligible and Patent-Ineligible DNA Sequences
Supreme Court Myriad decision that naturally occurring DNA is a product of nature not patent eligible impacts biotech and genetic medicine.
August 09, 2013
Perhaps no other Supreme Court case involving patent law has attracted as much public attention as Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics Inc1. In a June 13, 2013, opinion authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, the Court unanimously held that
This seemingly straightforward bright-line rule establishes that, contrary to the past practices of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (‘‘USPTO’’), a gene is not a ‘‘chemical compound, albeit a complex one.’’4 Instead, DNA is identified primarily by its sequence, and after Myriad, those DNA sequences that occur in nature may not enjoy patent protection.
1. 133 S.Ct. 2107 (2013).
2. ‘‘cDNA’’ stands for complementary DNA, which the Court characterized as ‘‘synthetic DNA created from mRNA’’ containing only exon sequences of genes. Op. at 3; see id. at 2-3 (presenting an overview of genes, DNA transcription to create messenger RNA (‘‘mRNA’’), and mRNA’s translation to create proteins).
3. Slip Op. at 1.
4. Amgen Inc. v. Chugai Pharm. Co., 927 F.2d 1200, 1206 (Fed. Cir. 1991).
Reproduced with permission from Life Sciences Law & Industry Report, 7 LSLR 842, 08/09/2013. Copyright 2013 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com
The articles on our Website include some of the publications and papers authored by our attorneys, both before and after they joined our firm. The content of these articles should not be taken as legal advice.
If you are interested in having us represent you, you should call us so we can determine whether the matter is one for which we are willing or able to accept professional responsibility. We will not make this determination by e-mail communication. The telephone numbers and addresses for our offices are listed on this page. We reserve the right to decline any representation. We may be required to decline representation if it would create a conflict of interest with our other clients.
By accepting these terms, you are confirming that you have read and understood this important notice.