Supreme Court Says Human Genes Can't Be Patented

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that segments of naturally-occurring human genes cannot be patented. The ruling may change the focus of genomic research, but it won't stop it.

Professor Andrew Torrance specializes in biotechnology patent law at the University of Kansas. He says the ruling falls hardest on companies that have invested billions of dollars, hoping to profit from patents on human gene fragments like those that help reveal a person’s risk for breast cancer.

KU Law targets smaller classes now and in future

The University of Kansas School of Law will have a significantly smaller incoming class this fall — and in future years for the foreseeable future.

Faced with dwindling applications, law schools across the country either are slashing class sizes or admitting students with inferior credentials. Dean Stephen Mazza said KU set a target of 120 students this year and may end up a bit below that.

By contrast, there are 175 students graduating this year and about 140 each in the first-year and second-year classes.

Indian country torn over gay marriage

A national news article discussing the conflict surrounding gay marriage amongst Indian tribes featured commentary from Elizabeth Kronk, professor of law.

Hotakainen wrote:

Scholars note that before their introduction to Christianity, many tribes accepted their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender members as “two spirits,” even giving them added respect because they were thought to have special powers.

Consequently, they say, same-sex marriage is easier for many tribal members to accept, though it still kicks up plenty of controversy.

Should we bring back the passenger pigeon and the woolly mammoth?

Ethicists, scientists, lawyers and biologists gathered at Stanford University for a day-long conference to discuss whether we should bring back species that have been extinct over the past several thousand years. A USA Today story on the conference quoted Andrew Torrance, professor of law, who participated:

The legal issues that will surround revived species are very unclear, said Andrew Torrance, a law professor at the University of Kansas and former biotech patent lawyer. But in general, he thinks "there are no solid legal barriers yet to de-extinction."

Supreme Court: US genes patent decision may depend on strands in Myriad argument

In June, the Supreme Court will release its decision on whether genes may be patented, which will have a far-reaching impact on the biotechnology industry. A Financial Times article on the subject quoted Andrew Torrance, professor of law.

Kirchgaessner wrote:

"It was obvious from the questions they asked and analogies that they dreamt up that the nine US Supreme Court justices hearing one of the most important and complex patent cases in a decade were not wholly comfortable with the subject at hand.

The Rise Of Anti-Sharia Legislation

Most religions have rules, guidance, law of some kind. Christians look to the teachings of Jesus, or the commandments. Jewish people turn to Torah. And Muslims look to Shariah—the code of Islamic law that guides everything from what to eat and how to dress to bigger questions—like resolving marital disputes, or punishing violent crimes.

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  • One-third of full-time faculty have written casebooks used at U.S. law schools
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