Divided Panel Finds DNA Molecules Patentable – Cancer Screening Claims Too Abstract
Today a divided Fed. Cir. panel of Judges Lourie, Moore and Bryson – Lourie writing for the “majority” – reversed the district court judge, in AMP v. Myriad, holding that isolated DNA sequences are patent-eligible subject matter and not natural products. While the majority found that the drug candidate screening claims were not patent-ineligible as natural phenomena and also reversed the district court on this point, the panel found that the diagnostic claims that just recited comparing or analyzing the difference between the sequence of a patient’s BRCA gene(s) and a reference “normal” gene sequence were patent-ineligible as overly “abstract,” e.g., as abstract ideas, and so affirmed the decision below.
Another interesting wrinkle is that the panel decided the merits before they were aware that the only plaintiff who they had ruled had standing, Dr. Harry Ostrer, had left his position and joined Albert Einstein, an august institution, but one that does not offer clinical lab screening assays. More later, after I read past the first 10 pages of this 106 page decision.