Gene Patents in Canada: Is There a New Legal Landscape?

Molecular Diagnosis & Therapy, 2017 Dec 1, doi: 10.1007/s40291-017-0313-9. [Epub ahead of print]

Posted: 28 Dec 2017

See all articles by Katherine Bonter

Katherine Bonter

McGill University

Carmela De Luca

Bereskin & Parr

Christi J. Guerrini

Baylor College of Medicine; University of Houston Law Center Intellectual Property and Information Law Institute

Date Written: December 18, 2017

Abstract

In 2016, the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) announced the settlement of its patent lawsuit against US-based Transgenomic, Inc. At issue in the case was CHEO's ability to test for gene mutations associated with long QT syndrome (LQTS) that are described in Transgenomic's patents. CHEO challenged the patents as invalid, and Transgenomic ultimately agreed to license them on a royalty-free basis to CHEO and other healthcare institutions for LQTS testing and research. While widely celebrated in the media, the ethical rhetoric surrounding the settlement has at times obscured the practical and legal context in which it was made and will operate. Here, we provide a nuanced account of the events surrounding the settlement and its implications for research and clinical care. Although the settlement is remarkable for the transparency of its terms and its inclusion of a license intended to benefit unaffiliated test providers, we conclude that another significant implication of the settlement may be its elimination of the opportunity to clarify an increasingly confused area of Canadian law against a backdrop of continued international controversy surrounding the patenting of genes and gene-based diagnostic and therapeutic methods.

Keywords: patent law, gene patents, diagnostics, canadian law

Suggested Citation

Bonter, Katherine and De Luca, Carmela and Guerrini, Christi J., Gene Patents in Canada: Is There a New Legal Landscape? (December 18, 2017). Molecular Diagnosis & Therapy, 2017 Dec 1, doi: 10.1007/s40291-017-0313-9. [Epub ahead of print]. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3091915

Katherine Bonter

McGill University ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5
Canada

Carmela De Luca

Bereskin & Parr ( email )

40 King St W
Toronto, Ontario
Canada

Christi J. Guerrini (Contact Author)

Baylor College of Medicine ( email )

One Baylor Plaza
Apt 510
Houston, TX TX - Texas 77057
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.bcm.edu/people/view/christi-guerrini-j-d/b1e79844-9aa9-11e4-907f-005056b104be

University of Houston Law Center Intellectual Property and Information Law Institute ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

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