I blogged about this case a couple of years ago, and saw that some readers were interested in it; so I thought I’d post an update on it, since it’s coming up to the Court again. As my Mayer Brown LLP colleagues and I say in the petition for certiorari,
This case concerns whether a patentee can monopolize basic, natural biological relationships. The Court has twice granted certiorari on the question presented, without yet resolving the issue. Last year, it granted certiorari, vacated, and remanded in this case to allow the Federal Circuit to reconsider this question in light of Bilski v. Kappos, 130 S. Ct. 3218 (2010). And seven years ago it granted certiorari but dismissed the writ as improvidently granted in Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings v. Metabolite Laboratories, Inc., 548 U.S. 124, 135 (2006), because petitioner there had not adequately preserved the question.
The question presented is: Whether 35 U.S.C. § 101 is satisfied by a patent claim that covers observed correlations between blood test results and patient health, so that the claim effectively preempts all uses of the naturally occurring correlations, simply because well-known methods used to administer prescription drugs and test blood may involve “transformations” of body chemistry….
Prometheus’s patents monopolize every useful implementation of a correlation between particular types of drug treatment and the natural bodily metabolism resulting from that drug treatment. This correlation is unquestionably a natural phenomenon. From it, doctors may determine if a dose of a drug is too high, too low, or needs no adjustment at all. But if Prometheus’s patents are allowed to stand, doctors will no longer be free to consider this biological phenomenon in treating patients or in attempting to develop new treatments for disease. And numerous similar, overly-broad patents that restrict doctors’ ability to treat patients will stand as well.
If you’re interested in the case, you can find the petition, the brief in opposition, amicus briefs, and the opinion below at the SCOTUSblog page for the case; there’s also a reply brief that we just filed, which SCOTUSblog hasn’t yet picked up. I’m hoping the Justices will be interested in the case, just as they were in Labcorp; I guess we’ll see soon enough.