A judge just invalidated the patents on two human genes whose mutations have been linked to breast and ovarian cancer. The genes were isolated by a biotech firm called Myriad Genetics, which argued that because it figured out how to isolate the genes outside of the human body then they were patentable. The judge called that “a ‘lawyer’s trick’ that circumvents the prohibition on the direct patenting of the DNA in our bodies.” The company sells a $3,000 cancer screening kit and has maintained a monopoly on the test because of the patents.
Thanks to a Texas judge’s ruling earlier this week, Microsoft has been prohibited from selling or supporting any more copies of Word that can edit XML-based documents. A Toronto-based company, i4i, sued Microsoft in 2007 over its XML editing patent, and the judge ruled in i4i’s favor. The ruling kicks in 60 days from now, unless Microsoft decides to appeal. We have a feeling it will.