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Friday, April 12, 2013

Lefstin on "The Past of Prometheus and the Future of Myriad"

On March 27th, Professor Lefstin gave a keynote address for the BIO (Biotechnology Industry Organization) intellectual property corporate counsel's conference entitled, “The Past of Prometheus and the Future of Myriad,” looking at what's really at stake in the Supreme Court's upcoming case on the patent-eligibility of human genes. On April 12, Lefstin was a guest on KQED's 'Forum' program, discussing the Myriad gene patenting case.

Oral arguments for Myriad are scheduled for April 15, 2013, before the Supreme Court of the United States. Lefstin filed an amicus brief in the case in support of the arguments put forth by Myriad. In the brief, which is based on historical research, he points out that the framework for evaluating patent-eligible subject matter suggested in last year's Prometheus case (that the inventor must develop an "inventive application" of a discovery to be eligible for a patent), is the same analysis the Court adopted in 1948 in a case called Funk Brothers. In light of how that framework was used in the 1950s and 1960s to strike down patents that we would regard as inoffensive today, he argues that the Court should disavow that framework in the Myriad case.

Professor Lefstin has also authored two columns for the PatentlyO blog, which is one of the most, if not the most, widely read source of patent commentary in the country.

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