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US judge rules that patents on breast cancer genes are unlawful

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 01 April 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1870
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

    A United States federal judge in New York has overturned US patents covering genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer, in a decision that has rocked the biotech industry.

    US district judge Robert Sweet held that claims in seven patents on BRCA1 and BRCA2 held by the biotech firm Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah were invalid because the genes are products of nature, which cannot be patented.

    The lawsuit challenging the patents was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union with the Public Patent Foundation at Benjamin …

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