Today the Supreme Court of the United States issued a unanimous decision that patent protection is not available for naturally occurring human genes. Patent protection is not available even if a company goes to substantial lengths to be the first to isolate a naturally occurring human gene. However, human genes and DNA that have been modified from their natural form may well be eligible for patent protection.
The Supreme Court’s decision today in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad was a partial defeat for Myriad Genetics, which is a company that held a patent directed, in part, to isolated human genes. Despite the ruling, Myriad’s patent still includes enforceable patent claims because those claims were directed to more than an isolated human gene.
The Supreme Court decision today provides important guidance for inventors and patent attorneys when pursuing biotechnology patents. If you have questions about this decision or about protecting your invention with a patent, contact our patent attorneys at 503-336-1214 or at 206-858-8468.