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Decision Anticipated

Justices

Justices

The Supreme Court of the US is expected to release its decision on the case of Obergefell v. Hodges very soon. This case, as summarized on the SCOTUSBlog, asks:

1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

It does so in order to decide, specifically, if James Obergefell, who married his partner of 20 years, John Arthur, can be listed as a spouse on Mr. Arthur’s death certificate (Arthur died of ALS). The two were married in Maryland, but were residents of Ohio, where same sex marriage is not recognized.

For a description of the case in plain English, visit the SCOTUS Blog.

The decision is expected late this month.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Unaltered genes are a product of nature and not patentable

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See this Jim? It’s not patentable.

The Supreme Court of the United States released its ruling on the ‘Association for Medical Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.’ case today. Briefly, they ruled that Myriad’s patent is invalid as they merely discovered a natural entity. Because they did not alter the material in any way vital to their industry or possess a methods claim associated with this material, their patent fails because  “laws of nature [or] natural phenomena …lie beyond the domain of patent protection” according to precedent set under United States Code. 

Wait – you mean the USC clearly states that they couldn’t patent this stuff?  Well, no.

USC Title 35 Part II Chapter 10 Section 101

“Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor…”

The applicable precedent case is Mayo v. Prometheus___566 U.S. In that case, Prometheus had a patented clinical diagnostic kit that Mayo Collaborative Services (a nonprofit affiliated with the Mayo Clinic) used for some time until they developed their own version of the kit. (A pretty close precedent). In this case, the court ruled that, “Because methods for making such determinations were well known in the art, this step simply tells doctors to engage in well-understood, routine, conventional activity previously engaged in by scientists in the field. Such activity is normally not sufficient to transform an unpatentable law of nature into a patent-eligible application of such a law.”

My Interpretation

From these rulings it appears that in order to become a patentable entity a gene must be novelly transformed in some manner that makes it functionally distinct from the naturally occurring entity, or that the method for interrogating the gene involves some novel method beyond what is previously known art. 

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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