Alexandra J. Roberts, Association For Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics: A Poem @lexlanham

Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics

Alexandra J. Roberts


Myriad was first to find the gene’s

location, reserve

its knowledge, tie up

women and their certain mutations.

But isolation creates

precisely nothing

to satisfy this Court.

Manifestations of nature are free to all men.

Elimination, duplication,

rearrangement, misplacement,

deletion is free

to all men.


Breast and ovarian cancer, other cancers,

held together by bonds, breaking bonds,

severed without magic

without translation.

Effort alone does not satisfy

the demands of mutations,

messengers in the body.


Law provides a stop signal

(cancer: mere side effect).

Breasts and other natural phenomena

studied, manipulated, or used

are not patentable.

Hereditary traits, abstract ideas,

ovaries are not patentable.

Laws of nature provide a stop signal

(her vote: mere side effect).


Alexandra J. Roberts is Professor of Law, University of New Hampshire School of Law. She teaches and writes in the areas of trademark and false advertising law, entertainment law, contracts, and law and literature. “Association For Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics” is a collage poem: it is composed entirely from words that appear in the Supreme Court opinion in the case of the same name.


The case is Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., 569 U.S. 569 (2013)