The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld a ruling by the United States Patent and Trademark Office that rejects a patent of a DNA sequence derived from a known protein. Amgen, Inc. held a patent for a human DNA sequence that encodes a receptor protein that plays a role in activating immune response to tumors and viruses. On 3 April 2009, the Court found that the company’s claim was “the product not of innovation but of ordinary skill and common sense, leading us to conclude NAIL cDNA [the patented DNA sequence] is not patentable as it would have been obvious to isolate it.” Although the decision is limited to this particular patent, it does extend a precedent for the greater scrutiny of other DNA patents. There are currently thousands of patents held in the United States for human DNA sequences and proteins.
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