The National Law Journal wrote about the recent Supreme Court victory which invalidated patents held by Myriad Genetics Inc. on two gene mutations that indicate a greater risk of breast and ovarian cancers. The new ruling will allow thousands of women to undergo diagnostic testing to detect whether or not they are a carrier of the gene and thus prevent diagnosis of these life-threatening illnesses.
The justices' decision in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics surprised few in the patent law field. Following oral arguments in April, the court appeared to be leaning favorably towards an argument presented by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. Breaking with the position held by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Verrilli urged the justices to hold that isolated, naturally occurring DNA is not patent-eligible, but that laboratory-created, synthetic DNA is.