Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2011 (Revised October 2013)

Gene Patents (A)

by Richard Hamermesh, David Kiron and Phillip Andrews


In March 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Sweet overturned 30 years of legal precedent and ruled that unaltered human genes could not be patented. This case reviews patent law and how it relates to our increasing knowledge of the Human Genome. The case issues deal with the potential implications of Judge Sweet's decision for biotechnology entrepreneurs and investors.

Keywords: Courts and Trials; Patents; Genetics; Judgments; Science-Based Business; Biotechnology Industry; United States;


Hamermesh, Richard, David Kiron, and Phillip Andrews. "Gene Patents (A)." Harvard Business School Case 811-089, June 2011. (Revised October 2013.)