In a very important decision, the Supreme Court of United States ruled that a naturally occurring deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated.
The Court, however, ruled that synthetically created exons-only strands of nucleotides known as composite DNA (cDNA) is patent eligible because it is not naturally occurring.
“Myriad did not create or alter either the genetic information encoded in the BCRA1 and BCRA2 genes or the genetic structure of the DNA. It found an important and useful gene, but groundbreaking, innovative, or even brilliant discovery does not by itself satisfy the §101 inquiry,” the Court said.
“The claims are not expressed in terms of chemical composition, nor do they rely on the chemical changes resulting from the isolation of a particular DNA section. Instead, they focus on the genetic information encoded in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes”, the Court observed.
Respondent Myriad Genetics, Inc. (Myriad), obtained several patents after discovering the precise location and sequence of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, mutations of which can dramatically increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.