The Genomics Law Report includes a new post assessing the possible strategies at play in the new lawsuits filed by Myriad regarding patents related to BRCA genes. The post suggests the possibility that Myriad is trying to use a strategy commonly used in the mass tort world, The strategy is simple:
Sue the weakest member of the heard, and then use the win or settlement as leverage to attack the rest of the herd.
One wonders if other genetic testing firms – or public interest groups – will jump into help protect the targets and/or guide the apparently weaker members of the herd. Judging from asbestos litigation, the answer is: no. Most others will instead watch and say: “that”s not me, I’m different.” Many of those allegedly different defendants then ended up in bankruptcy.
Time will tell. Hopefully Myriad will be blocked from bullying other firms, and the cases will progress to and defeat Myriad’s claiming patents on obvious biological techniques, such as building short primers from longer sequences of DNA. For more learned parsing of the patent nuances, see this more detailed post from the Genomics Law Report.