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“The Genome Defense” and the Civil Rights Case Against Gene Patenting

Join Northeastern Law’s Center for Health Policy and Law and Center for Law, Information and Creativity for a virtual book talk presented by:

Jorge L. Contreras
James T. Jensen Endowed Professor for Transactional Law; Director, Program on Intellectual Property and Technology Law, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law 

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held that naturally occurring genetic sequences may not be patented, instantly invalidating hundreds, if not thousands, of existing DNA patents and breaking open the testing market for hereditary cancer and many other health conditions.  The case, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, was remarkable in many ways, not least because it was prosecuted on behalf of twenty plaintiffs -- researchers, professional associations, medical practitioners and individual patients -- by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Public Patent Foundation as a case centered on individual civil rights rather than a technical interpretation of the Patent Act.  In The Genome Defense: Inside the Epic Legal Battle to Determine Who Owns Your DNA (Hachette/Algonquin, 2021), Professor Jorge Contreras brings this important case to life. Through nearly 100 interviews with attorneys, advocates, judges, patients and government officials, Contreras peels back the layers of this unique episode in American legal history and explains not only what happened, but why and how, and what its implications are for the future of medical science.

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November 17, 2022

12:45 pm to 2:00 pm

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