Is DNA intellectual property?The US Supreme Court recently announced that human DNA cannot be patented in a landmark ruling in a case brought against Myriad Genetics, a Utah-based maker of diagnostic tests. Janus Henderson Investors | 05.07.2013 11:12 Uhr
The ruling came in the face of pressure from the US pharmaceutical industry, which had earlier warned that any blanket ban risked discouraging potentially huge investment into genetic research. Despite being unanimous, the ruling also left room for compromise, however, as patents on synthetically-created molecules, otherwise known as complementary DNA (cDNA), are to be upheld, leaving room for companies to continue making money from patents derived from genetic research.
Just how much leeway remains, however, is still unclear. One thing that is for sure, though, is that the case has brought light to an interesting ethical dilemma that could possibly cause further legal wrangling in the future as regulators and governments weigh up the advantages of research into potentially lifesaving treatments, incentivised by the monopolies patents can bring, versus the disadvantages of allowing companies to monopolise treatment of genes that could be created in any living person. Markets reacted positively to the court’s ruling, with shares in Myriad rising to 52-week highs in the wake of the ruling.
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