You Can’t Patent My Genes – At Least In New York

Submitted by patentadmin on Wed, 04/14/2010 - 10:45

A few weeks ago, we commented on the briefs submitted by the parties seeking summary judgment on the issue whether isolated human genes comprise patentable subject matter under U.S. patent law (see Let’s Get Serious). (Association for Molecular Pathology et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office et al.)

In our previous blog post, we opined that “the plaintiffs have presented some serious patent law questions.” Apparently, the trial judge agreed with us, as he granted the plaintiffs’ motion. The ruling adopts the ACLU’s argument that “isolated” DNA is still a product of nature and, therefore, can’t properly be patented. As to the constitutional issues – which we still believe to be silly – he held that ruling thereon would be “inappropriate.”

So, there it is. A trial court has ruled that isolated human genes are NOT patentable subject matter. The case will now go to the C.A.F.C. – alleged by some (infringers) to be a “patent-friendly court.” The C.A.F.C. may reverse or narrow this decision but, for the moment, that’s the law – at least in the Southern District of New York.

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