Supreme Court issued its opinion in the Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.
On June 13, 2013, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in the Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. case. The court invalidated Myriad’s patents, stating that a naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated. The court further stated that cDNA is patent eligible because cDNA (complimentary DNA) is not naturally occurring.
Myriad previously held 24 patents on the tests of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. The BRCA genes test a women’s risk for certain cancers, including breast and ovarian cancer. The BRCA tests gained notoriety when Angelina Jolie tested positive for high-risk breast cancer and opted for a double mastectomy.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the decision stating, “Myriad did not create anything. It found an important and useful gene, but separating that gene from its surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention.”
The US Patent Office has been awarding gene patents since 1982. There was no dissenting opinion in the decision.