ACLU asks Supreme Court to hear gene patentability case

Organization says genes are products of nature, not patentable

To patent or not to patent. That is the question … at least it has been for the past two years as the courts have been offering up differing opinions on the matter. And the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has had enough. It asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to answer that question—or more specifically, to invalidate gene patents.  

The cases date back several years, but most recently, the Federal Circuit last month held firm in its July 2011 ruling in Association For Molecular Pathology v. US Patent and Trademark Office after the high court had asked it to go back and reconsider its decision in light of the more recent ruling in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories. In Association For Molecular Pathology, the Federal Circuit said genes can be patented. But earlier this year, the high court in Mayo Collaborative Services invalidated patents on evaluating a patient’s response to a drug.


Cathleen Flahardy

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