The Working Group on Licences and Technical Contracts Discusses the Myriad Ruling and the Grace Period

In the light of current events, the Working Group on Licences and Technical Contracts held a conference call on 21 June 2013 in order to discuss the US Supreme Court’s ruling on the Myriad case, as well as the grace period.

On 13 June 2013, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Association for Molecular Pathology et al. versus Myriad Genetics, Inc. et al. that “a naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated, but cDNA is patent eligible because it is not naturally occurring”. The experts from the working group discussed this ruling during the conference call. They agreed that the ruling was not surprising, given the fact that all natural products are now regarded merely as a discovery rather than as an invention under US patent law. This means that they are no longer eligible for patent protection. The working group will consult European and US patent lawyers in order to find out whether this interpretation of the ruling, which would also have far-reaching consequences for patentability in the field of biotechnological inventions, reflects the intention of the US Supreme Court.

In addition, the working group members addressed the topic of the grace period. During the conference call in June, they discussed the findings of the survey that had been conducted and of the completed patent research, as well as publications on the topic by various stakeholders. The working group plans to hold another conference call at the beginning of July, when it will conclude its discussion on the action recommendations.

BIO Deutschland members are welcome to request a copy of the meeting minutes from the association’s office (e-mail:

Go back