U.S. companies are conducting genetic research will defend to the Supreme Court the right to patent and further open their commercial use of human genes. Scientists are puzzled how you can patent a part of the human body.
Over the past three years, the biotechnology company Myriad Genetics Inc. defends its right to maintain patents received by it on the genes BRCA, a mutation which often leads to the development of cancer in women and men. This discovery was made in the course of an independent investigation with the assistance of expensive equipment and highly skilled professionals.
Patents on genes provides that third-party researchers, including members of the government, medical, or educational laboratories can continue to study these genes only with the permission of the copyright holder. This is true even in cases where the common man or the patient medical institution wants to make tests for the identification of such genes in the organism.
The American Civil Liberties Union (UCLA), Department of the University of Utah and the U.S. Patent Office in 2009, the company filed a lawsuit demanding to revoke the patent. Over the past three years, the courts of different instances that satisfy this requirement, admitted it illegal. And now, on the eve of the Supreme Court announced the start of the trial, which should lead to the final decision of the case.
This process can be called historic because of its outcome will determine the fate not only of many companies, but also the science of genetics in general. Myriad Genetics Inc. acts here as a representative of the researchers who spend millions of dollars and many years to study the features of human genes, and then patent their discoveries.
According to preliminary estimates, currently patented, 20% of the human genome, says UCLA. Over the past 30 years in the study of DNA has issued more than 40 million patents. If the Supreme Court decides in favor of the plaintiff, it will create a precedent that would allow civil society organizations to seek judicial cancellation of other patents on genes responsible for the development of asthma, Altstgeymera disease and other diseases.
"A big misconception to think that the something that has a natural origin, as DNA can be patented by a company that restricts the research and hinders the free exchange of ideas," — said the representative of the UCLA Chris Hansen in an interview with Associated Press.
According to documents in the trial lawyers Myriad Genetics Inc. stated that due to gene patenting and commercial gain company can conduct further research, which, in particular, are the basis for scientific discovery by scientists. Patent protection of research results is a key requirement of the investors. The absence of such protection, and financial outlook may discourage potential sponsors and jeopardize further implementation of costly research.
See also the legal fiction of "intellectual property" inhibits the development of technologies