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Moving Justice Forward For 60 Years!

Making the Case Against Gene Patents

07 October 2013 Published in Past Events

sandraparkAn Evening with ACLU Women's Rights Project Staff Attorney Sandra Park. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 5:30pm in the Moot Court Room, S.J. Quinney College of Law, The University of Utah.

gene patent graphic 800w-rel2-ALTERBWPlease join the ACLU of Utah, the Center for Law & Biomedical Sciences at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, and The University of Utah College of Nursing for a special evening with Sandra S. Park, a Senior Staff Attorney for the national ACLU's Women's Rights Project, and a lead litigator in the recent case against gene patenting before the U.S. Supreme Court, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics

On Thursday, October 10, at 5:30 p.m., Sandra will share her thoughts and experiences about the case at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, in the Moot Court Room (332 E. 1400 S. on the campus of the University of Utah). There will be some time for audience questions about the case and its implications, and the event will be followed by a public reception with light refreshments. 

Sandra S. Park is a Senior Staff Attorney in the National ACLU Women's Rights Project. At the WRP, Sandra engages in litigation, policy advocacy, and public education at the national, state, and local levels to advance the rights and civil liberties of women and girts. She represented twenty medical organizations, geneticists, and patients in a groundbreaking lawsuit challenging patents granted on two human genes related to breast and ovarian cancer. 

On June 13, 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously invalidated patents on two genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU 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.

The patents allowed a Utah company, Myriad Genetics, to control access to the genes, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2, thereby giving them the right to limit others from doing research or diagnostic testing of the genes, which can be crucial for individuals making important medical decisions. The patents also allowed Myriad to set the terms and cost of testing and made it difficult for women to access alternate tests or get a comprehensive second opinion about their results.

The court found that the patents on human genes are invalid, which represents a major shift in patent law and overturns current Patent Office policy. The court also found that patents on complementary DNA, or cDNA, are patent-eligible. Scientists can provide genetic testing without relying on cDNA. Thus, the court's ruling lifted the patent obstacle to offering genetic diagnostic testing.

This event is free and open to the public. Limited meter parking available in the College of Law parking lot. Free parking is available in The University of Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium lot, or take TRAX University Line to the Stadium stop and walk a half block to the north. 


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