In what supporters call an advance for women's health, a federal judge invalidated two patents on isolated human genes linked to ovarian and breast cancer.
The judge ruled that genes are not patentable. He cited existing laws that prevent companies from getting a patent on something that occurs naturally. If genes were allowed to be patented, patients who feared they have the cancer-causing gene could be diagnosed only by the patent-holding company.
The fight is far from over—the ruling is widely expected to be appealed.