Thursday, November 05, 2009

Judge Allows Constitutional Challenge to Human Gene Patents

Those who track the unusual intersections of Constitutional law and intellectual property law may find the following news story of interest. As reports, opponents of patenting human gene sequences received a rare court victory recently, when a federal judge refused to dismiss a suit that challenges patents for two genes linked to cancers in women.

The case involves seven patents relating to human genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, mutations of which are implicated in breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The University of Utah owns the patents, which it licenses to the Salt Lake City-based company Myriad Genetics.

In his opinion, Manhattan federal district court Judge Robert Sweet wrote that "the challenges to the patents-in-suit raise questions of difficult legal dimensions concerning constitutional protections over the information that serves as our genetic identities and the need to adopt policies that promote scientific innovation and biomedical research”.

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

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