In a ruling that provoked wide debate, the Southern District of New York recently invalidated certain patents on genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer, notably finding that DNA isolated from the body was not "markedly different" from DNA as it is found in nature. Ass'n for Molecular Pathology, et al. v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, et al., No. 1:09-cv-04515-RWS, at 135 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 30, 2010). The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the validity of certain patents held by Myriad Genetics, a biosciences company that held seven patents relating to genes taken from the body and used to test for mutations that raise risks for breast and ovarian cancer. The patents at issue included patents of "isolated DNA," which was defined by the Court as DNA "existing separate from other cellular components normally associated with native DNA" (id. at 92), and patents on certain methods for comparing and analyzing related gene sequences. See id. at 135–149. The future of method patents, which in this case the Court found to be "directed only to the abstract mental process of 'comparing' and 'analyzing' gene sequences," and, thus, unpatentable (id. at 147, 149), was brought into question by the Federal Circuit's ruling in In re Bilski, 545 F.3d 943 (Fed. Cir. 2008), cert. granted and appeal pending, 77 U.S.L.W. 3656 (U.S. Jun. 1, 2009) (No. 08-964). Yet the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has consistently determined that isolated DNA is transformed from DNA as found in nature, and therefore patentable. The Court, however, disagreed. Finding no discernible difference between isolated DNA and native DNA as it is found in the body, the Court stood on the longstanding limit that natural phenomena are not eligible for patent protection, citing "[The] requirement that an invention possess 'markedly different characteristics' for purposes of [the Patent Act] reflects the oft-repeated requirement that an invention have 'a new or distinctive form, quality, or property' from a product of nature" (citing Am. Fruit Growers, Inc. v. Brogdex Co., 283 U.S. 1, at 11 (1931)). Applying this tenet of patent law to isolated DNA, the Court handed down a ruling that, if not overturned on appeal, could undermine the business model of many biotechnology companies that depend on the value of their patent portfolios. When it comes to patents, the ruling shows, sometimes the genes don't fit.