Appeals Court Rules in Myriad Genetics Case; Excellent Example of Mixed Bag

On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled (H/T ScienceInsider and The Wall Street Journal) in the Myriad Genetics lawsuit, which questioned the validity of the patents the company uses in its tests for two genes that factor in many cases of breast cancer.

Again, I am not a lawyer, but the ruling does not appear to be a clear-cut case for either side in the big question about the ability to patent genetic material.  It does appear that the Appeals Court found some overreach in Myriad Genetics’ patents.  While patenting of genetic material like the two cancer genes is permissible per this ruling, the aspects of the company’s patents that focus on comparing DNA strands are not patent-eligible.  Without a better understanding of the mechanics of the test, I can’t begin to speculate how that might affect things.  There have been concerns that Myriad Genetics has been restricting access to the samples to the point of interfering with second opinions, and this ruling might affect that.

Those who live in this policy are much more than I do suspect an appeal of this decision is likely, perhaps by both sides.