US Supreme Court Says Synthetic Genes Are Patentable, Naturally Occurring Genes Are Not

Technology has always ridden far out ahead of the laws that govern it. As the pace accelerates, that gap may widen. The US Patent Office issued the first patent on a gene thirty years ago. Tens of thousands of patents later and amid growing uncertainty about the patentability of genes, the issue was heard by the US Supreme Court earlier this year. On June 13th, the court ruled against biotech firm, Myriad, saying the company may not patent isolation of naturally ocurring genes. However, the court upheld patents of synthetically created genes, known as complementary DNA or cDNA.