Can a Corporation Own Your Genetic Information? The Supreme Court Will Decide.

Politically Inclined

Supreme Court

By Ryan Blodgett

On Friday, while the Court was not announcing its intent to hear or deny a same-sex marriage case, it said that it will hear a case on one particularly interesting issue: gene patents.

Alright, that doesn’t sound interesting at first, but let’s look at the issue in a little detail.

Patents are a form of intellectual property. Essentially, when someone invents something, they can file some complicated paperwork to the U.S. Patent office and, if accepted, they will have rights to the idea behind that invention for a certain number of years. Patents are used to reward innovation. Having a patent on an idea means if someone else uses that idea without the owner’s permission, the owner can sue them. Without patent protections, companies wouldn’t invest money into inventing new things because others would just free ride. This would mean there would be a…

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