The Supreme Court’s decision in Association For Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. may appear to raise the standard for patent-eligibility. After all, the ruling did overturn 30 years of precedent that had allowed patents on isolated genes.
In the past, however, the courts have stated that in order to obtain a patent on something derived from nature, the patentee had to alter the natural substance in such a way as to provide a new, different functionality. That test was ignored in Myriad.
As a result, the Supreme Court upheld the patent-eligibility of a cDNA molecule that was derived from and had the same functionality as naturally occurring DNA. “So this ruling may broaden patent-eligibility,” says Professor Rochelle Dreyfuss of New York University School of Law.