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Legal Actions

Patent Watch

ICTA files amicus brief supporting the ACLU and PUBPAT lawsuit
May 12, 2009

The International Center for Technology Assessment and four other groups filed an amicus brief supporting the ACLU and the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) lawsuit charging that patents on two human genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer are unconstitutional and invalid. The suit charges that the patents stifle diagnostic testing and research that could lead to cures and that they limit women’s options regarding their medical care.

The lawsuit, Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al., was filed on behalf of researchers, genetic counselors, women patients, cancer survivors, breast cancer and women’s health groups, and scientific associations representing 150,000 geneticists, pathologists, and laboratory professionals. The lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as well as Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation, which hold the patents on the genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. The lawsuit charges that patents on human genes violate the First Amendment and patent law because genes are “products of nature” and therefore can’t be patented.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has granted thousands of patents on human genes – in fact, about 20 percent of our genes are patented. A gene patent holder has the right to prevent anyone from studying, testing or even looking at a gene. As a result, scientific research and genetic testing has been delayed, limited or even shut down due to concerns about gene patents.

US Patent Office rescinds US Patent No. 6,924,413
March 4, 2008
The Patent Watch Project of ICTA has learned that the US Patent and Trademark Office has decided to reject in its entirety Patent Number 6924413 granted for rabbits and other animals whose eyes have been purposely damaged.

View the full press release here.

USPTO Patent Reexamination Request – US Patent No. 6,924,413
March 23, 2007
The Patent Watch Program and the American Anti-Vivisection Society file a legal “Request for Reexamination” with the federal Patent and Trademark Office seeking the cancellation of a patent granted to researchers on a rabbit whose eyes are purposefully damaged for use in medical experiments.

Withdrawal of U.S. Patent No. US-6,444,872-B1
May 24, 2004
The University of Texas withdraws its patent on a beagle whose immune system was compromised to facilitate the dog’s use in medical experiments.
View the Press Release.

Inter Partes Reexamination Communication – U.S. Patent No. US-6,444,872-B1
May 19, 2004
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office grants CTA’s request that the PTO reexamine the University of Texas’ patent on a beagle whose immune system was compromised to facilitate the dog’s use in medical experiments.

USPTO Reexamination Request – U.S. Patent No. US-6,444,872-B1
February 25, 2004
The Patent Watch Program and the American Anti-Vivisection Society file a legal “Request for Reexamination” with the federal Patent and Trademark Office. The action demands that the Office cancel a patent granted to University of Texas researchers on a beagle whose immune system was compromised to facilitate the dog’s use in medical experiments.

View the Executive Summary.