johnsu01 (johnsu01) wrote,

No, facts of nature are still not patentable

I was incoherently trying to explain this heartening decision to friends over the weekend. Professor Moglen's article does it much better than my hand-waving. Dan Ravicher and PUBPAT continue to do amazing and important work, and as an ACLU member I'm glad to see them involved as well.

The Public Patent Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the patent on the ground that the Act does not permit the patenting of "facts of nature." In a lengthy and carefully argued opinion granting summary judgment, Judge Robert Sweet agreed. Judge Sweet rejected the basic premise on which gene testing patents such as the one granted to Myriad have been justified: that the amplification of naturally-occurring DNA sequences is a patentable transformation of the DNA molecule. Instead, Judge Sweet adopted the view put forward by Myriad's own expert witnesses, that DNA is a special molecule, "a physical carrier of information," and therefore held that the reading of such naturally-occurring information is not patentable subject matter. Whether posed as a new composition of matter, or as a method for "analyzing" or "comparing" DNA sequences, Judge Sweet held, Myriad's attempt to gain a monopoly on looking at a particular DNA sequence to find out what it says falls outside the permissible scope of patent law.

The full opinion is at

And see the FSF's End Software Patents campaign.

Tags: eben moglen, patents, pubpat
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