Gene Patenting

The Fight to Take Back Our Genes

Myriad Genetics’ Latest Attempt to Maintain Its Monopoly on Our Genes Rejected

By Sandra Park, ACLU at 11:02am
Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling invalidating patents on human genes.  The case was brought by the ACLU, along with the Public Patent Foundation, on behalf of 20medical organizations, geneticists, health advocacy groups, and patients and challenged patents controlled by Myriad Genetics on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.  Based on a 30-year-old U.S. Patent & Trademark Office policy, Myriad had obtained its patents on these two genes, which are closely associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer risk, and stopped other laboratories in the U.S. from providing genetic testing to patients, even when these labs wanted to offer different, more comprehensive, or less expensive tests. 
Aerial view of the U.S. Patent Office building; Image source: Cliff/Flickr

Is the "Patent Happy" Patent Office Violating the First Amendment?

By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 2:43pm

Last April, during the Supreme Court oral arguments in our case challenging patents on human genes, Justice Kagan remarked, "The PTO seems very patent happy." Her comment, and the unanimous decision invalidating gene patents, clearly expressed the…

Myriad Genetics Relents on Gene Patents, But Will the Patent Office Stop Issuing Patents on Products of Nature?

Myriad Genetics Relents on Gene Patents, But Will the Patent Office Stop Issuing Patents on Products of Nature?

By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 1:59pm

It looks like the courts have finally put an end to Myriad Genetics' attempts to monopolize our genes.

Following decisions striking down its gene patents from the U.S. Supreme Court, a Utah federal district court, and a federal court of appeals,…

The Fight to Take Back Our Genes Moves to Canada

The Fight to Take Back Our Genes Moves to Canada

By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 10:43am

The fight against gene patents has migrated north.

In the first challenge to gene patents in Canada, the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario earlier this week brought suit against the University of Utah for trying to claim monopoly ownership…

Statistics image