Supreme Court Remands Myriadís Human Gene Patent Case


     By Sheldon Mak & Anderson PC

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On the heels of its decision in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., the Supreme Court has remanded another controversial patent case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which specializes in patent litigation.

The lower court had previously confirmed patents awarded to Myriad Genetics Inc. related to the companyís genetic tests for breast and ovarian cancer. However, the courtís decision may change in light of the Supreme Courtís decent ruling that certain diagnostic tests merely recite natural laws and are, therefore, ineligible for patent protection under 35 U.S.C. ß 101.

Using this new precedent, the appeals court will now consider whether the subject of Myriadís patents, isolated DNA, is considered a product of nature. Myriad has argued that ďhuman interventionĒ brings isolated DNA within the scope of the U.S. patent laws. However, the Prometheus decision has arguably raised the bar on the amount of intervention needed to withstand legal scrutiny.

Like its predecessor, the Myriad case could have a dramatic impact on modern patent law. ďThe question of whether human genes and the information they convey are patentable is of paramount importance to the future of patent law, the advancement of medical science and patientsí health,Ē Myriadís opponents argued in their appeal.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William D. Bowen
William Bowen specializes in intellectual property litigation. Mr. Bowen manages all stages of the litigation process, including pre-filing investigation and case assessment, pretrial motion practice, discovery, trial practice, and post-trial and appellate proceedings. He has represented clients in federal and state courts in Delaware, Texas, and California, as well as appellate courts including the Ninth Circuit, the Federal Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
With a strong background in computer science and internet technology, Mr. Bowen's technical expertise positions him to be adept at working with expert witnesses, as well as explaining complex technical and legal issues to judges and juries.
Mr. Bowen is a zealous advocate for children's rights both domestically and internationally. He is fluent in Italian, proficient in French and Spanish, and intermediate in Mandarin.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.