Supreme Court: No, You Can't Patent Our DNA
But court rules that synthetic genes are fair game
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jun 13, 2013 10:20 AM CDT
This 2012 photo provided by Myriad Genetics shows packaging for their PROLARIS sample kits for assessing prostate cancer risk.   (AP Photo/Myriad Genetics)

(Newser) – Sorry, corporate America, you can't own our genes. The Supreme Court declared that unanimously today, ruling against Utah-based Myriad Genetics, which holds patents on a pair of genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer. But in something of a compromise, the court ruled that while it was unconstitutional to patent "products of nature," it was fine to patent synthetic, human-designed genes, CNN reports.

What does all this mean for you? Well, probably nothing right now, experts tell MSNBC. Patients rights groups had argued that allowing the patents gave companies like Myriad a monopoly on certain tests and fix prices. But "the patents are going to expire before any competitors could come into the field anyway," a law professor says. "This case would have been a lot more important had it been decided 10 or 12 years ago." The court has also in the past allowed techniques using natural ingredients, so while Myriad can't patent a gene, it might be able to patent its specific cancer test.

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Jun 13, 2013 10:36 PM CDT
This was a no brainer and the court decided it so well. Here is another no brainer for the court: corporations are not people.
Jun 13, 2013 7:49 PM CDT
This was no brainer. Thank God the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously because sometimes the bend over backwards to read the law in such a contrived way as to make it fit their egos.
Jun 13, 2013 4:19 PM CDT
I see this issue being played out in the courts in 100 different ways this century before it is actually settled. As undoubtedly intelligent as our justices are, they are not futurists by nature, and seem to have little idea about the potential implications as technology develops.