A recent unanimous Supreme Court decision determined that genes cannot be patented. That seems like an obvious concept, but the issue is that the gene was difficult and expensive to isolate from the chromosomes in which it resides. On top of the initial expense, the possible inventions that could spring out of this innovation may be very lucrative, so the company who isolated the gene attempted to file the patents, but was rejected. In this case, the gene is a very strong indicator of breast and ovarian cancer - although it is a groundbreaking, innovative, and brilliant discovery (to paraphrase Justice Thomas), it is still a naturally occurring material and is, therefore, not patentable. This decision makes the findings unprotected and opens the doors for other companies or researchers to run with the recent discovery and possibly find ways to build on it.