Patent-Eligibility of Isolated DNA: Another Twist in the Prometheus Debate
By BRUCE WEXLER
On 16 August 2012, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decided Assn for Molecular Pathology and Ors v Myriad Genetics, Inc and Ors, involving patent-eligibility of isolated gene sequences and diagnostic methods of identifying mutations in these sequences. As noted in our companion article, the Supreme Court ordered the Federal Circuit to consider this case anew in view of Prometheus. As discussed below, the Federal Circuit found patent eligibility for the majority of subject matter involved. The most controversial aspect involved patent eligibility of isolated gene sequences otherwise identical to those found in the human body. In this companion piece, we discuss the Myriad ruling, its relationship to the broader topic of patent eligibility, and practical implications of the decision.