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Articles on Gene patenting

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The decision is a win for 69-year-old Queensland breast cancer survivor Yvonne D'Arcy. Dan Peled/AAP

High Court rules breast cancer gene cannot be patented

Australia’s highest court has ruled a gene mutation linked to cancer cannot be patented, ending a long battle over whether companies can own the rights to genetic material.
Challenges to the patents for BRCA mutation tests in Australia and the United States resulted in opposing conclusions. Christiana Care/Flickr

Gene patents may sound scary but soon they may no longer matter

Recent cases in Australia and the United States and a new case in Canada show how controversial the subject of gene patents is. But technological advances and the cost of patenting may soon mean gene patents…
A gene patent means only the patent-holder has the right to undertake research and development involving that gene. Shutterstock

Four things you should know about gene patents

The Federal Court’s decision that gene patenting is permitted in Australia will have ramifications for all gene patents, even though the case involved only one gene associated with breast cancer. A gene…
The case was brought on behalf of cancer survivor Yvonne D'Arcy. DAN PELED/AAP

Australian federal court upholds gene patents

A Federal Court decision to allow gene patents could open the way for existing patents to be enforced more strongly in Australia, according to an expert in intellectual property. Biotechnology companies…
Most companies protect their core technologies with a set of patents, in case something goes wrong with one or more of them. Flickr/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

For Myriad Genetics, the gene patent fight isn’t over yet

Whether sequences of genetic material can be patented has been a matter of heated debate for the past decade or more. In many countries, patents have been granted for isolated gene sequences, methods of…
Angelina Jolie has a double mastectomy after discovering she carried a mutation of the BRAC1 gene. Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Supreme Court BRCA patenting decision: experts respond

Millions of women in the US will have access to affordable genetic screening for cancer after the US Supreme Court ruled that a commercial company cannot patent human genes. The screening tests for mutations…
The decision may impact on an impending Australian appeal. Image from

Top US court blocks patents on breast cancer genes

All nine members of the US Supreme Court have ruled that isolated genetic material cannot be patented – unless the material is markedly different to what exists in nature. The court ruled against Myriad…
Allowing patents that capture categories of unique genomic DNA damages the principle of open access. Nestlé/Flickr

Ensure open access to genetic data to protect innovation

Public investment in the Human Genome Project was expected to deliver a global public good that would help generate scientific breakthroughs. But open access to our genetic blueprint is a precondition…
The BRCA1 gene is thought to account for 45% of hereditary breast cancer, and at least 80% of hereditary cancer involving both breast and ovarian cancers. Tips Times

Gene patenting: Australian court rules BRCA1 patent is legal

“The issue that arises in this case is of considerable importance. It relates to the patentability of genes, or gene sequences, and the practice of gene patenting”. So began the reasons for judgement of…
Private firms will now be able to hold patents on isolated gene mutations after a ruling in the Federal Court today. AAP/Penny Clay

Historic ruling allows private firms to patent human genetic material

Private firms are allowed to hold a patent over cancer-causing gene mutations, according to an historic ruling in the Federal Court today that has wide-ranging implications for researchers and cancer patients…
The stories behind the Human Genome Project are themselves extraordinarily human. widdowquinn

Explainer: what is the Human Genome Project?

For many decades humans have pursued work to characterise the human genome. Today, publicly available references to genome sequences are available and have been instrumental in effecting recent advances…
Biotech patents are worth big money, so companies would fiercely resist a compulsory licence. sam d

Is it time to unlock biotech patents?

We’re in for another round of the biotech patent wars, with announcement the Productivity Commission will inquire into the compulsory licensing of patents. If adopted, compulsory licensing could increase…
Part of a Greenpeace protest at the European Patents Office in Munich. Greenpeace brought the case that has resulted in the European ruling. AAP

European court bans stem cell patents – what about Australia?

The European Court of Justice has today banned patenting of stem cell inventions derived from human embryos which are capable of developing into a human being. The court held that this exclusion from patentability…
Feeding the world’s poor may not really be the main concern of companies that take out gene patents on crops. AAP

Is patenting crops really about feeding the hungry? A response

Michael Gilbert’s article starts with a title that poses a question - Will patenting crops help feed the hungry? Fair enough, except he then proceeds to provide an answer, which as the posted comments…

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