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« Coalition of Amici File Brief in Support of Myriad | Main | Biopharmaceutical Companies Weigh-In on Myriad Case »

July 16, 2012


"For over 150 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that products of nature are not patentable."


With the possible exception of American Fruit Growers, none of the cases cited actually "held" that a "product of nature" was unpatentable. American Wood-Paper, Cochrane, and Funk Bros. are also cases involving either "old compounds" or obvious compositions. In my view, American Fruit Growers has been of dubious precedential value ever since Chakrabarty. And whatever Chakrabarty said is dicta as the oil-eating microorganism there was deemed patent-eligible under 35 USC 101. Even more telling is that this amicus brief doesn't directly address how Myriad's isolated DNA sequence/cDNA is distinguishable from the oil-eating microorganism of Chakrabarty.

Gene patenting is idiotic. How can one just claim a genetic sequence created from 4 basic structures? I might as well patent oxygen and have the 7 billion people in the world pay me for breathing air.

Dear Dissuaged:

Of course, by that logic any chemical compound is just a combination of Cs, Hs, and Os. The oxygen analogy is a good one - because like breathing oxygen in the atmosphere is like using the genes in your cells: no patent owner has any interest in your genes (Michael Crichton to the contrary).

Thanks for the comment.

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