Sep 9, 2016
According to a recent article in The Hill Times, a landmark settlement reached earlier in 2016 may help define how Canadian hospitals can use genes patented by private companies – without those patent holders’ permission. In the article, author Marco Vigliotti examines the details of the case between the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and American biomedical firm Transgenomic Inc. which dealt with diagnostic testing for Long QT syndrome, a potentially fatal inherited heart condition. Osler partner and intellectual property litigator, Nathaniel Lipkus, acted as pro bono co-counsel for CHEO and offers first-hand insight into the case and the implications of its outcome.
Nathaniel notes that the settlement – which allows all public-sector Canadian hospitals and labs to use Transgenomic’s diagnostic test on a not-for-profit basis – should “form a practical precedent, a pathway for similar situations. That’s what we’ve been doing, mapping out what that looks like.” That way, he explains, a policy framework can be developed for use by provincial governments in future cases that deal with the use of patented products and services without consulting the holder of the patent.
“We had an enthusiastic response from government agencies to the settlement. They were interested in it, and interested in how it would affect what they’re doing,” Nathaniel says.
If you subscribe to The Hill Times, you can find out more about the implications of the CHEO case by reading Marco Vigliotti’s full article, “Legal status of patented genes in Canada remains unclear, though recent settlement should defuse tension, say experts” dated September 7, 2016.