US Court decision concerning gene patents/personalized medicine

On August 16, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision for The Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) v. the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and Myriad Genetics, Inc. case. 

This case is a lawsuit challenging the legality of gene patents in the United States, and more specifically challenging a patent for the breast cancer genes BRCA1/2 held by Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah. Previously, the Supreme Court had set aside the Federal Circuit's July 2011 decision favoring Myriad and directed that court to review the case again in light of the Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Labs. Inc. ruling highlighting issues of patenting with regards to personalized medicine (see Valea news from 2012-03-23). Still, in its decision, the court upheld Myriads right to patent "isolated" genes known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, but denied methods of "comparing" or "analyzing" DNA sequences. The decision is for now good news for the biotech industry, but there is certainly more to come.

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// Sarah Rodriguez and Camilla Lidén