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Supreme Court: Human Genes May Not Be Patented

Publication Date: 
June 14, 2013
Source: 
National Public Radio - All Things Considered
Author: 
Nina Totenberg

Professor Mark Lemley spoke with NPR's Nina Totenberg about the Supreme Court's ruling on DNA patenting and what the future battles of DNA patenting will be.

Thursday's decision by the high court upends 30 years of patent awards granted by the U.S. Patent Office. The ruling also has enormous implications for the future of personalized medicine.

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TOTENBERG: Thousands of these examples prompted a group of researchers, doctors and patients to go to court, to challenge Myriad's patent. And yesterday, they won a significant victory. The high court ruled unanimously that nobody can patent human genes because they are products of nature.

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That is likely to be the next of many battles over patenting DNA material, according to Mark Lemley, a patent expert at Stanford Law School.

MARK LEMLEY: The jury is still out, a little bit, on whether the patents that were left alive by the court's opinion today are going to turn out to be of any use.