Intellectual Property

Human Genes Can't Be Patented, Says Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday that human genes cannot be patented.

But in something of a compromise decision, all nine justices said while the naturally occurring isolated biological material itself is not patentable, a synthetic version of the gene material may be patented.

"Genes and the information they encode are not patent-eligible under [federal law] simply because they have been isolated from the surrounding genetic material," said Justice Clarence Thomas for the 9-0 court decision.