dnaiStock_000024754431_LargeThe patentability of genes is under scrutiny all over the world.

Several weeks ago, the High Court of Australia shed light upon the patentability of nucleic acids (D’Arcy v. Myriad Genetics Inc.). Similar to the situation in the U.S. for 35 U.S.C. §101, the High Court found that an isolated nucleic acid coding for a mutant BRCA1 protein was not patentable subject matter.
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If you are forming a new venture or starting a new research project, consider these important IP issues before taking the plunge…

1)  Evaluate the “Patent Landscape” before you invest significant resources. A patent attorney can help you with a “Freedom to Operate” opinion. This FTO opinion will contain a “prior art” search, which provides information regarding comparable patents, their inventors/assignees, whether the patents are in good standing, and the remaining patent term. This information will give you a greater understanding of the patentability of your new idea, will help you avoid infringing someone else’s patents, and will help you identify potential licensing issues. The FTO opinion can also help to avoid “willful” infringement should you later be sued.
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New guidelines from the United States Patent and Trademark Office were issued to address recent changes in the law regarding subject matter eligibility. The guidance applies to all claims “reciting or involving laws of nature/natural principles, natural phenomena, and/or natural products.” There is no change to claims reciting abstract ideas.

This step-by-step analysis of patent