Should isolated genes (i.e., genes separated from surrounding genetic material) be considered “products of nature” and, therefore, ineligible for patent protection under U.S. law? The Supreme Court, in a recent 9-0 decision, said “yes.” The isolated genes in the case have allowed doctors to predict an increased risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. However, simply because the isolated gene is useful and groundbreaking does not make it patent eligible. On the other hand, modifying a gene to create something not founding nature is patent eligible.


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