Monday, June 17, 2013
By H. Chung So
Months after hearing the arguments and weeks before concluding its current session, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that human genes are a product of nature and are not patent-able.
One June 13, the Supreme Court ruled that human genes are not patentable, thus allowing other companies to test for BRCA gene mutations at a fraction of the current price.
In the court's majority opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote: "A naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated."
The immediate effect of the July 13 ruling: Myriad Genetics no longer holds the patent on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, as well as the monopoly on testing for the genes' cancer-causing mutations. This means other companies can test for these genes, likely for a fraction of the approximately $3,000 Myriad is currently charging. Additionally, panel tests that scans for multiple mutations at the same time can now include BRCA genes in their mix.
ALSO from the Breakthroughs Blog: