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patentability of DNA – US Supreme Court gives its verdict

14 June 2013

The US Supreme Court has ruled on the question of whether a segment of DNA (isolated from the rest of the human genome) is patent eligible.

Myriad Genetics Inc had obtained a number of patents relating both to a segment of DNA (in its naturally occurring but isolated form) together with synthetically created DNA segments. These segments are important in the development of diagnostic tools in the battle against breast and ovarian cancer. The Supreme Court found that the former was not patent eligible but the latter was. The important distinction appeared to be whether the segment was naturally occurring – if it was, then a patent could not be granted in respect of it.

Reaction to the decision is awaited, but from Myriad’s own press release back in April it might appear that the patent eligibility of the synthetically created DNA segments will be heralded as a victory by the genetics company.

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Mark Daniels

Mark Daniels

Partner and Head of Business Services

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