The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Rachel Myers, (212) 549-2689 or 2666;

ACLU, PUBPAT and U.S. Solicitor General in Federal Appeals Court in Washington on Monday Challenging Patents on Human Genes Linked to Breast Cancer

Plaintiffs Will Hold Press Conference Following Hearing in Gene Patent Case


The American Civil Liberties Union, Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) and U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal will be in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. on Monday, April 4 for arguments in a lawsuit challenging patents on human genes. In March 2010, a district court found in favor of the plaintiffs, including doctors, researchers and individual patients who are represented by the ACLU and PUBPAT, holding that patents on two human genes related to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer are illegal. The court will hear an appeal of that ruling on Monday.

The lawsuit is against Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation, which hold the patents on the genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. The lawsuit charges that the patents stifle diagnostic testing and research that could lead to cures and that they limit women's options regarding their medical care.

The plaintiffs will hold a press conference outside the court following the arguments.

More information about the case is available online at:

Arguments in Association for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al., a lawsuit challenging the patents on two human genes

Chris Hansen, staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project will present arguments for the plaintiffs. Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal will argue that patents on products of nature are invalid.

Press conference speakers will include:

  • Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU
  • Daniel Ravicher, Executive Director, PUBPAT
  • Harry Ostrer, M.D., Director of the Human Genetics Program, New York University School of Medicine
  • Mary Williams, COO & Director of Scientific Programs, Association for Medical Pathology

Monday, April 4
Court opens at 10:00 a.m. EDT
Arguments scheduled for 10:00 and 11:00 a.m. EDT

Press conference to follow

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Courtroom 201
717 Madison Pl NW
Washington D.C., 20005

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666