A patent dispute between British genetic genealogy companies Oxford Ancestors
(headed up by Seven Daughters of Eve
author Bryan Sykes) and DNA Heritage
ended in favor of the latter.
Oxford Ancestors obtained a UK patent for ““Method of using Y chromosome haplotyping in forensic and genealogic tests” in 2004 (it filed for the patent in 1999). The patent consisted of seven claims about the company’s Y-chromosome haplotype analysis and its use in surname and genetic genealogy research.
Oxford ancestors accused DNA Heritage two years ago of infringing upon its patent. In January, DNA Heritage asked the UK Intellectual Property Office to re-evaluate four of the claims, contending the science behind them wasn't sufficiently “novel and inventive” over previous genetic research.
In April, the office issued an opinion
(subject to a subsequent three-month review period) that the four claims did not involve inventive steps.
"Other researchers had already shown the connection between surnames, Y-chromosomes and family history," says DNA Heritage president Alastair Greenshields. He added the finding would help keep genetic testing prices affordable because companies won't have to pay royalty fees for their tests.
We're currently seeking comment from Oxford Ancestors and will post it here.