Decision relating to isolated nucleic acid sequences

Published: 
7 October 2015

On Wednesday 7 October 2015 the High Court issued its decision in Yvonne D'arcy v Myriad Genetics Inc & ANOR [2015] HCA 35. The High Court determined that isolated nucleic acid sequences are not patent eligible under Australian law. Specifically:

'The Court held that, having regard to the relevant factors, an isolated nucleic acid, coding for the BRCA1 protein, with specified variations, is not a manner of manufacture. While the invention claimed might be, in a formal sense, a product of human action, it was the existence of the information stored in the relevant sequences that was an essential element of the invention as claimed. A plurality of the Court considered that to attribute patentability to the invention as claimed would involve an extension of the concept of a manner of manufacture which was not appropriate for judicial determination.' 

The decision provides clarification of the law as applied to the patenting of isolated nucleic acid sequences and we will move quickly to ensure that patent examination practices are consistent with the findings of the Court.

We are considering the decision and its implications and will provide a response in due course. In the interim, we have suspended examination of patent applications claiming nucleic acid sequences.

You can read the full Hight Court of Australia Judgement Summary.

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