WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with the Mayo Clinic in a case involving patents on blood tests.
The court unanimously sided with Mayo in a case brought against it by a California company called Prometheus Laboratories. In 2004, Mayo had improved on two blood tests for which Prometheus held a patent. Prometheus sued for patent infringement, but Mayo argued that the tests revolved around a natural occurrence and thus, are not subject to patents. The court agreed.
“We must determine whether the claimed processes have transformed these unpatentable natural laws into patent-eligible applications of those laws. We conclude that they have not done so and that therefore the processes are not patentable,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the court. “Upholding the patents would risk disproportionately tying up the use of the underlying natural laws, inhibiting their use in the making of further discoveries.”