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NY judge rules that human gene patents are invalid

A New York City judge has invalidated a company's patents on two genes linked to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

The ruling Monday by federal Judge Robert Sweet challenging whether anyone can hold patents on human genes was expected to have broad implications for the biotechnology industry and genetics-based medical research.

Last March, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation sued Myriad Genetics Inc., the University of Utah Research Foundation and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The ACLU and the patent foundation said Myriad's refusal to license the patents broadly has meant that women who fear they may be at risk of breast or ovarian cancers are prevented from having anyone but Myriad look at the genes in question.

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