DNA is one of the fastest-growing genealogy services of today. A patent battle has been brewing in the U.K. for a couple of years but now apparently has been settled. The following announcement was written by DNA Heritage, a U.K. DNA testing service:
DNA Heritage success in patent battle helps keep genealogy DNA test prices low.
DNA Heritage has recently overcome patent claims held by a competitor which would have severely restricted the use of DNA testing and databases that allow families around the world to match and connect up through their DNA. The patent covers the use of surnames and Y-chromosomes to establish a family connection. The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) has now rendered a formal opinion stating that the relevant claims are all invalid.
Alastair Greenshields, principal of DNA Heritage said "Patents are often needed to provide an incentive for innovative work, but in this case the academic work lacked inventiveness as other researchers had already shown the connection between surnames, Y-chromosomes and family history. This is a great outcome and allows DNA Heritage and other test companies to continue offering these tests and database services to the ever-growing genetic genealogy community without having to raise prices due to royalty payments."
An infringement challenge from patent assignees Oxford Ancestors, which had been running for over two years, was thwarted when DNA Heritage asked the UK IPO to re-evaluate the patent claims in the light of work by previous researchers. After considering submissions from both parties, an Opinion provided on the 8th April 2008 (with a 3 month review period) found that of the four claims contested, all four were invalid for lack of an inventive step, and one was additionally lacking novelty.
Results from DNA Heritage's testing using at-home cheek swabs and their accredited laboratory can both be fed into an in-house and public-access Ybase database. These have become invaluable tools for those researching their direct male lineage and surname.
About the company:
Established in 2002, DNA Heritage provides advanced genetic tests to the genealogy community and those tracing their roots. An innovator in providing multi-lab compatible tests and the open-access Ybase database, DNA Heritage enables many genealogists around the world to enhance their families' research. For more information, visit http://www.dnaheritage.com.