The Federal Court has dismissed an appeal of Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) in relation to a patent lodged by US companies Branhaven LLC and SelecTraits Genomics LLC. The Court allowed the companies to proceed with their patent, however under a narrower scope. It is the latest decision in a long-running dispute by MLA who originally contested the patent on the grounds that it was too broad. The original patent described use of genomic markers in the selection and breeding of cattle, implementing a common scientific technique to identify valuable genetic traits. MLA was concerned that the original patent would have a chilling effect on cattle genomic research in Australia and overall posed a significant threat to genetic improvements which enhance Australia’s meat and livestock industry. The Court have allowed the patent in an amended state. There are initial indications that the narrower scope will mitigate the negative impact on the industry. However, MLA have expressed continued concern with the vague nature of the patent and will be undertaking further research into the impact of the amended genome patent.

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