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« "Takings" by Congress and the Courts | Main | "60 Minutes" Examines Gene Patenting Issue on Sunday, April 4th -- Patent Docs Author Kevin Noonan to Appear on Program »

April 01, 2010


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Thanks for collecting these comments.

The plaintiffs and their ACLU attorneys have wrapped themselves in the mantle of scientific freedom and women’s health, but the suit is ultimately about money. Myriad hasn’t gone after people doing pure research. Why should they waste the time, money, and effort? Why should any company?

The molecular pathologists want to be able to offer the tests themselves for a fee. The opinion is replete with references to people charging much less than Myriad charges. Of course they can. Myriad invested substantial amounts of time, money, and effort to commercialize the technology. Once the tests have been developed and proven, it’s easy for someone else to take a free ride. That’s why the friendly street corner vendor is able to offer Avatar for a dollar.

I guess I don’t blame the anti-patent cabal for gloating over this. It’s the culmination of years of effort of spewing out misinformation and propaganda. Check out the ACLU web site. It’s propaganda machine would have made Stalin jealous.


As they've done in the past, the ACLU statement's has (again) grossly distorted in the media what Myriad's patents cover, as well as the controlling legal precedent. This win by the ACLU and its clients will be short-lived. Sweet's ruling has a "snow ball's chance in hell" of being upheld by the Federal Circuit, if nothing else for misrepresenting the holding in In re Bergy. Also, Sweet's reliance on the Bilski test to invalidate the method claims was extremely ill-advised, as that test will likely be overturned by SCOTUS long before this appeal is reviewed by the Federal Circuit. Get ready for the judicial version of a "verbal blood bath" as Sweet's opinion is torn to pieces.

The molecular pathologists want to be able to offer the tests themselves for a fee. The opinion is replete with references to people charging much less than Myriad charges. Of course they can. Myriad invested substantial amounts of time, money, and effort to commercialize the technology.

How much is Myriad's CEO paid?

Dear Keep:

I don't think Myriad is among the top earning diagnostic companies. Or that Myriad's CEO is the top-earning CEO.

Thanks for the comment.

Geoff, sure, companies deserve to patent their inventions, but they didn't invent genes - they just discovered them. I could spend a lot of time and money isolating a channel from a song, but I shouldn't then be able to copyright that channel.

Amazing that Newton blew his chance to patent gravity. What was he thinking!

He must have been thinking that the idea of patenting products of nature is patently absurd.

This trial should have taken no more than 5 minutes.


Sure Myriad did not invent the gene, but they did invent a novel use for the gene, in a way that had never been used before.

'Products of Nature' aren't patentable? So only supernatural inventions can be patented?

'Discoveries' *are* patentable - S101 says so. What is not patentable is what is not new. If (like Newton) your discovery is how an existing thing works, you have nothing to patent. You need to produce a useful new process or thing.

You can read my published law review article on why gene patents should inspire legislative reform at : http://omnilegalgroup.com/publications.html

I am a molecular pathologist. We perform tests for any and all types of genetic changes. Many test procedures, including gene sequencing, are industry standards, and the genetic sequences are all part of the public domain, performed by the NIH funded human genome project. Myriad doesn't just hold a patent on a test method. That would be ok with me. Myriad claims a patent on the gene sequence itself (even though it's publicly available at genome.ucsc.edu) and any conceivable test, present or future, that could test for any sequence in that gene. However, even they believe a claim to block people from sequencing their whole genome (including the BRCA genes) wouldn't hold up and is untenable. So they only block people who just want to sequence that gene alone. How does that double standard hold up?

You're not allowed to patent what you find in nature. That's one of the basic rules of patents. Our own DNA sequences are a product of nature. If you want to patent a method to look at gene sequences, that's fine with me. But all they did is patent some letter sequences that they read out of someone's cells, and they want to block anyone else from doing it by any method imaginable. It's ridiculous.

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