Baseball Bats and Chocolate Chip Cookies: The Judicial Treatment of DNA in the Myriad Genetics Litigation
Ian Binnie, C.C., Q.C. co-authored an article that appeared in the Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine publication.
"In June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a controversial ruling that naturally occurring DNA segments are "products of nature" and therefore not patentable subject matter. At this intersection between science and law, in litigation of crucial importance to patients, science, and multibillion-dollar biotech enterprises, the appellate judges sidestepped genetics and engaged in awar of metaphors from diamonds to chocolate chip cookies. This case is not an outlier. Apprehensive judges and juries in both Canada and the United States find many convenient excuses to avoid coming to grips with the underlying science in patent cases. But this is simply not acceptable. Legal rulings must be, and must seem to be, well grounded, as a matter of both law and science. The legitimacy of court decisions in the eyes of the stakeholders and the broader public depends on it..."