The Fight to Take Back Our Genes

VICTORY! On June 13, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously invalidated the patents on BRCA 1 and BRCA 2.

Did you know that private companies can patent genes in your body? A company called Myriad Genetics "owns" two genes known as BRCA 1 and BRCA2 –or Breast Cancer 1 and Breast Cancer 2. Women with certain mutations in these genes have a strong chance of getting breast or ovarian cancer.

This has very dangerous implications for women’s health and scientific research.

The government should not be granting private entities control over something as personal and basic to the human body as our genes. Moreover, granting patents that limit scientific research, learning and the free flow of information violates the First Amendment.

The ACLU argued the case against gene patents before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 15, 2013.
On June 13, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously invalidated the patents on BRCA 1 and BRCA 2.

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CASE

Supreme 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 the Decision »

Gene Patenting Goes to the Supreme Court

In 2009, 20 professional medical associations, geneticists, breast cancer and women’s health groups, and patients filed a lawsuit charging that patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2 are invalid. The ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation, which represents the plaintiffs, argued this case before the U.S. Supreme Court on April 15, 2013. We expect a decision this summer.
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Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics: Supreme Court Arguments

On April 15, 2013 the ACLU argued before the Supreme Court that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2, are unconstitutional and invalid.
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INFOGRAPHIC

Patents on Human Genes: A Patient's Perspective

Patents on Human Genes: A Patient's PerspectiveFinding out if you have a hereditary risk of breast and ovarian cancer is not as easy as you would think. We are telling the Supreme Court that a corporation cannot own our DNA.
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VIDEO

The Fight To Take Back Our Genes: Challenging Patents on Cancer Genes

Kathleen Maxian has advanced-stage ovarian cancer that could have been prevented. When Myriad Genetics patented the two genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer they put Kathleen and thousands like her at risk.
Watch »
SPECIAL FEATURES

Take Back Your Genes

The ACLU is arguing our case on two human genes related to breast and ovarian cancer in April 2013. Stand with us and share your story.
Stand With Us »
RESOURCES

Genes and Patents FAQ

What is a gene anyway and whose rights are compromised by gene patents? Find out this and more with our Genes and Patents FAQ.
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Gene Patenting News and Information

Read the most recent blog posts on gene patenting.
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