Are Human Genes Patentable?

IIC International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, Vol.44, 2013, pp.747-749

UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-139

4 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2013 Last revised: 6 Oct 2015

Dan L. Burk

University of California, Irvine School of Law

Date Written: August 20, 2013

Abstract

This editorial examines the logical structure of the United States Supreme Court decision in Myriad Genetics v. AMP, regarding patents on human DNA. In the first half of the opinion, a unanimous court holds that genomic DNA molecules derived from human cells are unpatentable products of nature because they have the same informational content, and hence the same function, as native DNA. But in the second half of the opinion, the Court holds that complementary DNA molecules generated in the laboratory are patentable over native sequences because they have a different structure. These two conflicting rationales leave the law of patentable subject matter indeterminate, and far more incoherent than before the Court intervened.

Keywords: patent, intellectual property, Myriad, cDNA, gDNA, genes, product of nature

JEL Classification: O31, O33, O34

Suggested Citation

Burk, Dan L., Are Human Genes Patentable? (August 20, 2013). IIC International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, Vol.44, 2013, pp.747-749; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-139. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2317095

Dan L. Burk (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

4500 Berkeley Place
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States
949-824-9325 (Phone)

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