U.S. top court bars patents on human genes unless synthetic

Friday, June 14, 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday prohibited patents on naturally occurring human genesbut allowed legal protections on synthetically produced genetic material in a compromise ruling hailed as a partial victory for patients and the biotechnology industry.

The ruling by the nine justices, the first of its kind for the top U.S. court, buttressed important patent protections relied upon by biotechnology companies while making it clear that genes extracted from the human body cannot be patented.

Researchers and advocates for patients said it could make it easier for people to get cheaper genetic tests for disease risk.

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