A new lawsuit challenges patent rights on portions of the human genome. According to an article in IP Law and Business:
Getting patents on any part of the natural world has never been allowed. But patent lawyers have argued that isolated, purified gene sequences should be eligible for patenting, since such isolated sequences don’t exist in the body, and the PTO, so far, has agreed. Patents have also been granted on the act of correlating specific mutations with diagnoses, giving monopoly rights to makers of some genetic tests.
This lawsuit directly attacks that line of reasoning, claiming that an “isolated and purified” human gene “performs the exact same function as a non-isolated and purified human gene in a person’s body … . Removing a product of nature from its natural location does not make it any less a product of nature.