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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Federal Court: You Can't Patent DNA Obtained From a Known Protein
6 April 2009 5:15 pm
As Science put it in a story on the issue:
Any competent graduate student can take a known protein and come up with the nucleotide sequence that encodes it. Does that mean the gene’s code is obvious, in a legal sense, and therefore cannot be patented?
On Friday, in a little-noticed ruling likely to make biotech patents harder to obtain in the future, a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., answered with a definitive yes.
The court declared that an invention owned by Amgen Inc. in Thousand Oaks, California, was so obvious as to be unpatentable. The invention, first discovered by scientists at Immunex near Seattle, Washington, and then sold to Amgen, was the sequence of a gene for the protein NAIL, important in the human immune response. But those who opposed the patent argued that it took no original insight to work out the gene's code. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed with the skeptics. The judges backed a decision made earlier by the U.S. patent office (in a case known as In re Kubin), dismissing what the court called an "alleged discovery." The court's ruling is one of many signs that claims based on gene sequences are getting much tougher scrutiny now than in the past.