In a much-anticipated decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that isolated DNA molecules may be patented, so long as the molecules meet other criteria such as novelty and non-obviousness. In Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics (Fed. Cir. July 29, 2011), the Court rejected a district court’s finding that isolated DNA molecules exist in nature and are thus not patentable. The Federal Circuit also reversed the district court’s finding that a method for screening potential cancer therapeutics could not be patented because it was a mere scientific principle.
UPDATE: On March 26, 2012, after an appeal the U.S. Supreme Court remanded this case to the Federal Circuit and ordered the Federal Circuit to reconsider its decision in view of Mayo v. Prometheus.