A few months ago, my friend Professor Greg Dolin, MD, JD, invited me to join him on an amicus brief to the Supreme Court. The issue in front of the Court concerned the patentability of isolated DNA sequences and cDNA, specifically those used in the diagnosis of a genetic mutation linked to breast cancer. The brief that we submitted supported Myriad's position that both genetic tools qualify as patentable subject matter. There were two opposing views: that neither were patentable, and that cDNA was patentable while isolated DNA was not.
That brief generated a bit of press interest, as I noted in an earlier post. My prediction, having listened to oral arguments, was that the Court would rule as we had urged it to rule. In point of fact, the Court ruled today in favor of the middle ground--allowing cDNA patent while precluding isolated DNA patents.
I have two general reactions. The first comes from my perspective as a lawyer and a scholar; the second from my perspective as a citizen and a policy wonk.
Suppose you combined a decline in confidence with the global
financial system, a distaste for fiat currency, a handful of secretive
encryption specialist, and the Internet.
What would you get? The answer is
Bitcoin, a technological attempt to tether global currency to something stable
and tough to manipulate, like mathematics, rather than something unstable and
manipulable, like politics.