The ACLU did a GREAT THING: Breast Cancer Gene Patents are Invalid!

Filed in Gather Health Essential by on March 30, 2010 0 Comments

Patents On Breast Cancer Genes Ruled Invalid In ACLU/PubPat Case


Patents on genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer are invalid, ruled a New York federal court today.”

“The lawsuit, Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al., was filed on May 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of breast cancer and women’s health groups, individual women, geneticists and scientific association…”

In essence, the holder of the patent was denied the right to refuse to allow treatment, or even investigation, by others.  And that’s fine… so far as it goes.  But then comes the good stuff…


The court recognized the far-reaching impact of the case on medical research and public health. The opinion stated, “…the resolution of the issues presented to this Court deeply concerns breast cancer patients, medical professionals, researchers, caregivers, advocacy groups, existing gene patent holders and their investors, and those seeking to advance public health.”

In essence, this federal court said that genes are not patentable!

No one invented genes. Inventions are specific tests or drugs, which can be patented, but genes are not inventions,” Daniel B. Ravicher, Executive Director of PUBPAT and co-counsel in the lawsuit.

This is what Joe Biden called a BFD (Big Farkin’ DEAL!).

I doubt this will end here, if for no other reason than that it may not have nationwide effect.  If anything sees the SCOTUS, this should.  It’s been unconscionable from the start that discovered genes could be patented.  One may as well say that a species (not a cultivar) is patentable, or that a discovered soil type is patentable.  This has never made sense, and has been a great bane to research.

My only disappointment is that the Court dismissed the 1st Amendment issue against the Patent Office as moot because of the ruling in favor of the plaintiffs.  I thought that the court should have ruled on that as well.  But courts typically avoid ruling on anything they don’t absolutely HAVE to, so I’m not surprised.

This is a GOOD thing, folks.

BTW - Please note that the headline is not true. Despite the insistence by ACLU-haters that it is true, the fact is that it is NOT true that the ACLU makes and changes public policy.  The ACLU FILES LAWSUITS in Federal Courts in defense of rights, and on behalf of people whose rights have been violated.  The COURTS rule… NOT the ACLU.

About the Author ()

...but I'm a WAY better listener than most people think, and a better advisor than anyone knows.

Leave a Reply