Monsanto: Planting the Seeds of Discord

soybeansFew patent cases in recent years have provoked as much public outcry as Bowman v. Monsanto Co. (pdf) —in fact, I’d rank it second behind only Myriad. The case concerns Monsanto’s right to control harvesting and replanting of subsequent generations of its patented, genetically modified Roundup Ready seed. But that discord did not extend to the Supreme Court, which ruled unanimously (in a single succinct, 10-page opinion, written by Justice Kagan) that Monsanto can exert such control.
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Filed under General Interest, Legal & Regulatory, Patent Litigation, Patents & IP

EEOC Files and Settles Its First GINA-based Employment Discrimination Lawsuit on May 7, 2013

Stethoscope & Laptop Jennifer K. Wagner, J.D., Ph.D., is a solo-practicing attorney in State College, PA and a research associate at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Integration of Genetic Healthcare Technologies.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a statement that it had filed a lawsuit against Fabricut, Inc. on May 7, 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, making it the first lawsuit brought by the agency to enforce genetic nondiscrimination rights afforded by Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). A consent decree was filed concurrently, thereby settling the lawsuit on the same day.
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Filed under General Interest, Genetic Testing/Screening, GINA, Legal & Regulatory

Some Thoughts on Myriad After the Supreme Court Argument

MyriadOn April 15, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics. This was another significant step—probably the penultimate one—in the long-running Myriad drama. It began with a group of plaintiffs (including researchers, doctors, and breast cancer patients) joining an American Civil Liberties Union-organized lawsuit to invalidate Myriad’s patents on two breast cancer susceptibility genes (BRCA1 and 2) as well as patents on methods of interpreting genetic test results and testing anti-cancer drug efficacy. In a shocking decision, the federal district court in New York threw out all of Myriad’s patents. The Federal Circuit then reversed the district court’s rulings on the gene patents, with the three-judge panel holding unanimously that cDNA is patentable subject matter and holding 2-1 that isolated genomic DNA is patentable as well. The Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling that Myriad’s methods of interpreting mutations are not patentable, but reversed it in reinstating Myriad’s claims to methods of testing drug efficacy.
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Filed under Badges, General Interest, Genetic Testing/Screening, Genomic Policymaking, Genomics & Society, Industry News, Legal & Regulatory, Myriad Gene Patent Litigation, Patents & IP, Pending Litigation, Pending Regulation