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Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics

16 June 2013 Published in Legal Work

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National ACLU Challenges Patents on Breast Cancer Genes

On May 12, 2009, the national office of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer are unconstitutional and should be invalidated. The lawsuit, Association for Molecular Pathology v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), Myriad Genetics, and the University of Utah Research Foundation, which hold the patents on the BRCA genes. The plaintiffs include organizations representing over 150,000 researchers and pathologists, breast cancer and women’s health groups, and individual women.

 Read the ACLU of Utah's statement regarding this lawsuit (PDF) >>

genesSupreme Court Decision

VICTORY! On June 13, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated patents on two genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) on behalf of researchers, genetic counselors, patients, breast cancer and women's health groups, and medical professional associations representing 150,000 geneticists, pathologists, and laboratory professionals.

Read more »

Liberate the Breast Cancer Genes (5/12/09)

 

Court Upholds Right Of Scientists And Patients To Challenge Gene Patents

11/2/09 - A federal district court ruled today that patients and scientists can challenge patents on human genes in court, allowing a lawsuit challenging patents on two human genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer to move forward.

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ACLU Argues That Patents on Breast Cancer Genes Are Unconstitutional and Invalid

Posted 2/5/10 - In the first hearing in federal court about the patentability of human genes, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), a not-for-profit organization affiliated with Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, asked the court to rule that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer are unconstitutional and invalid. The groups charge that the patents stifle diagnostic testing and research that could lead to cures and that they limit women's options regarding their medical care.

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Patents On Breast Cancer Genes Ruled Invalid

Posted 3/30/10 - Patents on genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer are invalid, ruled a New York federal court today. The precedent-setting ruling marks the first time a court has found patents on genes unlawful and calls into question the validity of patents now held on approximately 2,000 human genes. The ruling follows a lawsuit against Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation, which hold the patents on the BRCA genes, as well the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The lawsuit charged that the challenged patents are illegal and restrict both scientific research and patients' access to medical care, and that patents on human genes violate the First Amendment and patent law because genes are "products of nature."

Read more with a link to the court decision >>

Read a Salt Lake Tribune Article >>

Patents: Who Owns Your Genes?

Posted 4/6/10 - 60 Minutes, on April 4, featured a story on the issue of biotech companies that obtain patents on human genes. This highlighted the recent successful lawsuit filed by the ACLU and Public Patent Foundation against Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation.

Watch the whole segment and read an article >>

Government Agrees With Groups That Human Genes Should Not Be Patentable

Posted 11/5/10 - The U.S. government filed a friend-of-the-court brief on October 29, in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) challenging patents on human genes. The government agreed with the groups that isolated DNA is not patentable. The ACLU and PUBPAT filed the lawsuit in May 2009 challenging the patents held by Myriad Genetics, a Utah based company, on the human genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, which are associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The lawsuit charged that the patents stifle diagnostic testing and research that could lead to cures and that they limit women's options regarding their medical care.

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Supreme Court Remands ACLU Gene Patenting Case to Appeals Court

Posted 3/27/12 - Yesterday, The U.S. Supreme Court set aside a ruling that allowed a company to patent two genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer and limit access to potentially life-saving genetic tests for at-risk women. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBAT) have challenged the patents held by Myriad Genetics - a Utah based company - on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit last year ruled were valid. With the judgment vacated, the case will be sent back to the same three-judge panel who issued the July decision.

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Who Owns Your Body? (5/2/13)