Recently the Utility patents for the company Myriad Genetics, Inc., regarding two gene sequences and their use for diagnosis of breast cancer, were invalidated. The judgement, which will be appealed, may lead to an important principal change in how the possibility to patent genes is regarded in the USA. Earlier, it has been assumed that genes isolated from their natural surrounding in principle have been patentable, but this may change now. Judge Sweet quotes an old court case regarding preparation of the metal Tungsten, in order to illustrate that one should not be able to patent something that occurs in nature, only because it is possible to purify.
- It will be interesting to follow the development in the aftermath of this judgement, says Fredrik Fredh, patent consultant at Ström & Gulliksson with a focus on biotech. Initially, it will not affect us in Europe, since the climate here is already generally more restrictive towards so called gene patents. But the question is of principal importance, and in the long run, it may of course influence everyone working with inventions within the field of gene technology.