Ruling casts doubt on patenting human genes

In a ruling with potentially far-reaching implications for the patenting of human genes, a judge in New York on Monday struck down a company's patents on two genes linked to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The decision by U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet challenging whether anyone can hold patents on human genes was expected to have broad implications for the biotechnology industry and genetics-based medical research. Last March, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Public Patent Foundation sued Myriad Genetics Inc., based in Salt Lake City, the University of Utah Research Foundation and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The ACLU and the patent foundation said Myriad's refusal to license the patents broadly has meant that women who fear they may be at risk of breast or ovarian cancers are prevented from having anyone but Myriad look at the genes in question. Myriad Genetics Inc. sells the only BRCA gene test, which one expert says now costs nearly $4,000.

Google CEO's total compensation down 52%

The total compensation of Google Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt fell 52 percent last year, to $245,322, as the Internet search leader cut back on its employee perquisites to help lift its profits during the recession. The sharp decrease reflected lower bills for protecting Schmidt and flying his personal guests on jets chartered by Google. By Schmidt's request, Google limited his salary to just $1 for the fifth consecutive year. But his 9.4 million Google shares are worth about $5.3 billion.

UAW cashes in on Ford's high-flying stock

After watching Ford Motor Co.'s stock climb to a five-year high, a United Auto Workers trust fund is cashing in, selling the rights to an 11 percent ownership stake in Ford to raise at least $1.3 billion for retiree health care. More than 200,000 Ford retirees and their spouses depend on the trust fund for their health care coverage.

Energy shares rise with price of oil

Shares of energy companies rose Monday after the price of oil surged nearly 3 percent. Suicide bomb attacks on the subway system in Russia, a major oil producer, raised concerns about supplies. Oil rose $2.17 to $82.17 a barrel. Shares of Schlumberger, the oilfield services company, rose 2.3 percent, to $63.07 a share, Exxon Mobil climbed 1.1 percent, to $67.30, and Chevron gained 1.1 percent, to $75.23.

TD Ameritrade to repurchase securities

Online brokerage TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. will repurchase roughly $300 million in auction-rate securities from investors to comply with a settlement announced last summer, the Omaha-based firm said in a document filed with the SEC Monday. Auction-rate securities were marketed as being safe as cash, but the market for them fell apart in early 2008.

FROM NEWS SERVICES