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Australia Biotech The Courts Science

Australian Federal Court Rules For Patent Over Breast Cancer Gene 160

Bulldust writes "The Federal Court in Australia has ruled in favor of U.S. biotechnology company Myriad Genetics, enabling them to continue to hold the patent over the so-called breast cancer gene BRCA1. The same patent is also being reconsidered by the U.S. Supreme Court in the current session. From the article: 'Federal court Justice John Nicholas has ruled that a private company can continue to hold a patent over the so-called breast cancer gene BRCA1, in a decision that has devastated cancer victims.The decision is the first in Australia to rule on whether isolated genes can be patented, and will set a precedent in favor of commercial ownership of genetic material.'"
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Australian Federal Court Rules For Patent Over Breast Cancer Gene

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  • Re:fucking great? (Score:5, Informative)

    by cryptolemur ( 1247988 ) on Friday February 15, 2013 @07:14AM (#42908327)

    1. The research wasn't completely privately conducted (universities, and other government-funded organisations were involved), so I think there is probably some reasonable expectation that the community will benefit as a result.

    I believe there was practically no private research, since Myriad was founded after the gene was already located in chromosome 17 and it was only a matter of time for the teams in different universities to pinpoint the location and find out the sequence. Furthermore, the company was founded by some of the university researchers that took part (well, their labs took part, at least) in the search for the gene.
    Myriad was funded to patent the gene, to put it plain and simple. And by holding a patent not just to their gene test, but any BRCA1 sequence test, they have prevented anybody else for figuring out *why* mutations in BRCA1 may cause breast cancer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 15, 2013 @08:27AM (#42908697)

    I am the OP.

    I think you are confusing judicial activism with ruling from the bench.

    Judicial activism is a loose term which means that the judge applies their own beliefs in a ruling, which may apply here. In reality it means that the person who accuses a judge of activism disagrees with the ruling :)

    Ruling from the bench is where a judge effectively creates law in their ruling, which is the case here. Before, discoveries were not patentable, now, apparently they are. And in no house of parliament has such a law been passed. Australian democracy in action.

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