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Presidential Commission Calls for Privacy Protections in Genome Sequencing

Science Insider reports that the Presidential Commission on Bioethics has issued a new report on privacy issues associated with whole genome sequencing of patients.  The cost to sequence the entire genome of an individual is dropping rapidly, and genome sequencing is predicted to one day become common practice in medical treatment and research.  However, current guidelines and policies vary by state and do not provide consistent protection against misuse of genomic data.  The report outlines several steps to protect individuals’ private genetic information while encouraging data sharing and research access.

Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Seed Patent Case

The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the case of Bowman v. Monsanto Co., reports Wired. The case was originally brought as a patent infringement suit by Monsanto against Bowman, a farmer in Indiana. Bowman had purchased commodity soybeans from a grain elevator for planting, which contained Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready soybeans. The District Court of the Southern District Indiana granted summary judgment for Monsanto, and the Federal Circuit affirmed. In their petition for certiorari (hosted by SCOTUSblog), Bowman argues that the doctrine of patent exhaustion should apply, or that there should be an exception for self-replicating technologies, such as seeds.

Federal Circuit Ends Injunction Against Samsung Galaxy Nexus

On October 11, the Federal Circuit reversed a preliminary sales injunction on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, reports Reuters. In February 2012, Apple brought suit against Samsung in the Northern District of California, alleging that the Galaxy Nexus infringes eight Apple patents. The preliminary injunction was granted based on one of those eight patents, U.S. Patent No. 8,086,604, which is directed towards an apparatus for unified search. Earlier this month, the San Jose Mercury News reported that U.S. District Judge Koh also dissolved an injunction against Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.

Patentability of Software to be Reconsidered En Banc by Federal Circuit

The Federal Circuit has ordered an en banc rehearing to consider the patentability of software in CLS Bank Int’l. v. Alice Corp., App. No. 2011-1301 (Fed. Cir. 2012). PatentlyO reports that the Federal Circuit has reformulated the questions presented to consider how to determine when a computer-implemented invention is an unpatentable abstract idea, and whether method, systems, and storage medium claims for software should be considered equivalent.  The court has also invited the USPTO to file an amicus curiae brief. In the original decision (previously covered by the Digest), now vacated, the court held two to one that computer programs are patentable post-Prometheus.