To challenge a patent
22 February 2012
Associate Professor Kimberlee Weatherall discusses the Federal Court case in which Cancer Voices Australia is challenging a patent owned by Myriad Genetics relating to gene mutations that cause women to be more susceptible to breast cancer.
In an article for The Conversation, Associate Professor Weatherall writes that in many ways this is a very "classic" patent case.
"Myriad uses its patent to assert exclusive rights to undertake activities covered in the patent: namely, testing for the gene mutations.
"The patent ensures that no-one else can perform such tests without Myriad's permission.
This is how we think of patent working - whether or not we like the fact that genes and methods for identifying them in a patient can be "owned" by someone.
But you might be surprised to know that many, perhaps even most, patents today are not used this way.
"In fact, patents are used in a whole range of different, strategic ways that raise interesting questions about the patent system and whether it is doing what we think it is doing - that is, providing incentives for inventors."
Contact: Greg Sherington
Phone: +61 2 9351 0202