Cohen files amicus brief in gene patent case before the Supreme Court

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Harvard Law School Professor I. Glenn Cohen ’03 and Gideon A. Schor ’89 recently filed an amicus brief on behalf of Eric S. Lander in a pending Supreme Court case that will address whether human genes are patentable.

The case, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, No. 12-398, which will be argued on April 15, 2013, hinges on a scientific question, whether DNA fragments from a human chromosome are (1) products of Nature or (2) at least similar enough to products of Nature that they should not be considered “markedly different.” Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303, 310 (1980).

Cohen and Schor argue that because chromosomes are constantly and naturally broken into DNA fragments and these DNA fragments are ubiquitous in the human body and cover the entire human genome, they are indeed a naturally occurring part of nature and cannot be patented.

“A patent on a product of Nature would authorize the patent holder to exclude everyone from observing, characterizing or analyzing, by any means whatsoever, the product of Nature.”

You can read a full copy of the brief here. Cohen’s blog post on the brief is available here.

Read more on the Harvard Law School website.