BIO and AUTM File Joint Brief Defending Patentability of DNA-Based Inventions

Patents Critical to Innovation of Products Which Benefit Patients and Other Consumers

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov 1, 2010 - The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Friday, October 29th, in an appeal of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a number of plaintiffs against Myriad Genetics, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and others.

The brief, filed jointly with the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), supports the patentability of isolated DNA molecules, noting that invalidating the patentability of these molecules would discourage future biotechnological innovation. DNA-based patents are a critical tool that help enable the fundamental research and development of new biotech products, therapies and technologies to fight deadly diseases, expand agricultural production, clean the environment, and reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil.

Isolating a DNA molecule, in addition to creating a new chemical molecule that does not exist in nature, imparts new utilities and functions that are not available from native DNA. The utility of isolated DNA molecules derives from their chemical structure, which is developed by human ingenuity using complex scientific expertise and equipment. As a result, isolated DNA molecules are patentable subject matter based on decades of U.S. case law.

“Unless reversed, the district court's ruling will seriously harm the U.S. biotechnology industry, which consists largely of small firms that are engaged in foundational research and dependent on private investment to fund their work,” stated BIO President & CEO Jim Greenwood. “Patent protection is critical for the ability of biotechnology firms to secure the private investment necessary for the research and development of innovative diagnostic, therapeutic, environmental and agricultural products. This innovation will lead to domestic job creation and help sustain our country's global competitiveness.”

If the Court of Appeals affirms the district court's categorical rejection of the patentability of isolated DNA molecules, it would cast a cloud of uncertainty over thousands of similar patents and compromise the ability of biotechnology firms to pursue groundbreaking discoveries in human healthcare, renewable energy, and sustainable agriculture.

“Patentability of isolated DNA molecules is critical to the translation of university research discoveries for the public good. Without this, many promising discoveries would not make their way from the university research lab and into the hands of companies for development of products which improve the public health,” stated AUTM President Ashley J. Stevens.

“From the mass production of life-saving medicines by cell cultures to the screening of our blood supply for life-threatening viruses, patented DNA molecules have been put to countless uses that have benefited society,” concluded BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood.

The joint BIO-AUTM amicus brief is available at http://bio.org/ip/amicus/BIO_AUTM_Amicus_Brief_AMP_v_USPTO_2010-1406_FedCir.pdf. Additional background materials are available at http://bio.org/ip/genepat.

About BIO

BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world's largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIO produces BIOtech Now, an online portal and monthly newsletter chronicling “innovations transforming our world.”

Upcoming BIO Events

Advanced Business Development Course
November 12-14, 2010
Munich, Germany

BIO-Europe International Partnering Conference
November 15-17, 2010
Munich, Germany

Pacific Rim Summit on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy
December 11-14, 2010
Honolulu, HI

BIO Asia International Partnering Conference
January 24-25, 2011
Tokyo, Japan

BIO CEO & Investor Conference
February 14-15, 2011
New York, NY

BIO-Europe Spring 2011
March 14-16, 2011
Milan, Italy

BIO Intellectual Property Counsels Committee Spring Conference and Committee Meeting
April 13-15, 2011
Seattle, WA

BIO International Convention
June 27-30, 2011
Washington, DC

 

Contact: Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)
Stephanie Fischer, 202-312-9263
sfischer@bio.org

 

Posted: November 2010


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