Alex Osterlind


This Article examines the place, if any, of genes within the United States patent system by first providing a broad background of the United States patent system, including the foundational cases that have shaped the system. Further, this Article briefly describes human genes to explain how genetic material is viewed within the United States patent system. Subsequently, "gene patents" within the United States are explained. Building upon this milieu, the merits of arguments in opposition to gene patents are examined by focusing on the arguments presented in an ongoing suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (on behalf of various parties) against Myriad Genetics, the holder of several gene patents, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Finally, this Article concludes with a brief forecase of the fate of gene patents in the United States and how concerns about the deleterious effects of gene patents might be addressed.

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