The US Supreme Court on 14 June 2013 ruled that human genes cannot be patented. However, artificially copied DNA can be claimed as intellectual property. The court rejected patents held by a Utah-based firm on two genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer. The court opined that DNA came from nature and was not eligible for patenting.
The US biotechnology industry had warned any blanket ban on such patents would jeopardise huge investment in gene research and therapies. The court added in the ruling that synthetic molecules known as complementary DNA can be patented because it is not occurring naturally.