In a ruling with potentially far-reaching implications for the patenting of human genes, a federal judge on Monday struck down patents on two genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer. The decision, if upheld, could throw into doubt the patents covering thousands of human genes and reshape the law of intellectual property.
They argued that genes, products of nature, fall outside of the realm of things that can be patented. The patents, they argued, stifle research and innovation and limit testing options.
The case could have far-reaching implications. About 20 percent of human genes have been patented, and multibillion-dollar industries have been built atop the intellectual property rights that the patents grant.
“It’s good for patients and patient care, it’s good for science and scientists,” said John Ball, executive vice president of the American Society for Clinical Pathology. “It really opens up things.”
This is pretty huge.