Justice Dep’t Questions Gene Patents
n March, a federal judge invalidated patents that claimed two genes lined to breast cancer, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. The decision has cast doubt on thousands of gene patents, and may play a significant role in re-shaping the intellectual property landscape. The ACLU and others joined to challenge the validity of the gene patents and argued that since the genes are products of nature, they should not be patentable. Myriad Genetics, the owner of the patents at issue, moved to dismiss the case, claiming that the work necessary to isolate the DNA that comprises the gene, is tranformative and renders the genes patentable.