The United States Justice Department took a public stand on the issue of genetic patenting for the first time on October 29th, stating that human and other genes should not be eligible for patents because they are part of nature. The Department of Justice filed an Amicus Brief in the case against Myriad Genetics agreeing with the plaintiffs, in a move that will have major implications for the case and the issues which Kartemquin's 2008 film In the Family helped bring to worldwide attention. Here is a statement on the news from In the Family director Joanna Rudnick:
"This is an incredible victory for those of us who feel that gene patenting is a threat to public health and scientific innovation, and it was made in direct response to the ACLU and Public Patent Foundation challenge to the patents on the BRCA genes. This is yet another case where the BRCA population and supporting medical and scientific researchers are leading the fight for better protections for those with predictive genetic information and for all of us who hope to unlock the power of genetic information to fight against disease.
This is the first time the Department of Justice had taken a pubic stand against the US Patent and Trademark Office's practice of allowing patents on genetic sequences. I hope that the DOJ brief has a direct impact on the ACLU case against Myriad's patents, now in the Court of Appeals in the Federal Circuit."
With a noted tradition of nurturing emerging talent and acting as a leading voice for independent media, Kartemquin is building on more than 50 years of history as Chicago’s documentary powerhouse.
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