Nature can’t be patented: Supreme Court

June 17, 2013

Supreme Court of the United States (credit: 350z33/Wikimedia Commons)

In a unanimous ruling on Thursday, Supreme Court justices held that human DNA isolated from a chromosome cannot be patented because it is a product of nature, The New York Times reports.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the court, said “there would be considerable danger” in granting patents on natural phenomena because that approach would “inhibit future innovation” and “would be at odds with the very point of patents, which exist to promote creation.”

However, the court held that synthetic DNA that is created in a laboratory is new and distinct from DNA and therefore patentable.