Thursday, June 13, 2013

Supreme Court Unanimous: Human Genes
Cannot Be Patented

AP via TPM has a few details.

Notwithstanding lower court decisions to the contrary, this is the only result that makes sense. The human genome is as old as H. sapiens, which is several hundreds of thousands of years old by most reasonable scientific estimates. Therefore, neither Myriad Genetics Inc. nor any other business entity or individual can claim to have invented the two genes related to breast cancer, only to have isolated and identified them.

That's a relief. I am glad to know I once again own my genes, or at least that no one else owns them. And to think I thought it was bad when someone in the 19th century managed to patent the telegraph magnet...

Thanks to the Supreme Court, in the picture above,
only the electrical components can be patented


  1. Given that the decision was unanimous, I don't see any way to get around it.

    It is about time something was done about the out of control patent system in this country. The propose is to foster creativity, not provide a retirement system for anyone's grandchildren. We are fostering creativity, we are suppressing it to protect the profits of corporations.

    1. The last sentence should read: "We aren't fostering ..."

      I do that a lot.

    2. "I do that a lot."

      Please forgive me, Bryan, if I find that somewhat comforting, given how often I do the same thing. :-)

      IP has turned into something it was never intended to be by our Constitution's framers. Incentive was the key, and hence exclusive rights for a period of time, followed by public ownership for public benefit. I created some pretty decent s/w for corporate America back in the day, but I am not still drawing a salary or a fee for having done so... why should IP be any different?



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