The Protesters Were Right – No One Can Patent Their Genes
Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision holding that genes are not patentable, even when there are isolated from the body. The case, Association for Molecular Pathology v Myriad Genetics, addressed the patentability of BRCA1 and BRCA2, also known as the breast cancer genes. Mutations of these genes can increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer to between 50 to 80 percent, and her risk of developing ovarian cancer to between 20 to 50 percent. With the genes at issue being so significant to women’s health, and with highly publicized announcements by celebrity Angelina Jolie about her own genetic status, the public and biotech companies alike have had a keen interest in the outcome of this case. The Court has now struck down Myriad’s claims to the breast cancer genes, holding that Myriad found the breast cancer genes but that they did not invent anything.
A Sample of M&A Negotiations: the Indemnification Clause
Many industry experts anticipate an increase in mergers and acquisitions over the next couple of years, and M&A activity has become a common discussion topic in a number of banking circles. These discussions generally focus on purchase or sale opportunities and the general process involved in such activities. Although bankers anticipate that negotiation of a purchase agreement is a necessary step in the process, many who have not experienced purchase agreement negotiations first hand may envision delegating this process to their advisors. However, professionals representing bankers greatly value informed input from their clients when negotiating an M&A related definitive agreement as the strategic decisions involving the duration, cap, and basket amount of the indemnification clause illustrate.
Lessons Learned from the CFPB’s First Enforcement Actions
Since its creation in July 2011, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has entered into five public consent orders with financial institutions and, in one case, a service provider, to correct alleged consumer protection violations. While these orders involved some of the biggest institutions in the industry (Capital One, Discover and American Express), there are valuable insights to be gleaned from these orders for both institutions directly monitored by the CFPB and institutions that are examined for consumer protection compliance by their prudential regulators (especially since the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) joined in two of the orders).
Stealing Trade Secrets? Go Directly to Jail / Do Not Pass Go / Do Not Collect $200
Many companies have increased their attention to prevention of theft of trade secrets, as well as the prevention of many other kinds of data loss these days. Indeed, in February 2013, the White House released its Strategy for combating the theft of trade secrets in the United States.