Courts across the world have been busy dealing with some high-profile intellectual property disputes this year. WIPR picks 13 of the most interesting and examines their implications.
Hands off my genes
Four years after a group of ‘gene’ patents were challenged in court, the US Supreme Court had the final say against Myriad Genetics. The patents, directed to mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 human genes, allow the US biotech company to test for a risk of breast and ovarian cancer. But various groups, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, fought to invalidate the patents, even campaigning with messages such as ‘hands off my genes’.
In June, the Supreme Court held unanimously that isolated human DNA is patent-ineligible, wiping out some of Myriad’s claims. But the court said in some circumstances composition claims for complementary DNA (cDNA), which is synthesised from messenger RNA, can be patented.
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