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Supreme Court issues first major patent decision of the term

Its ruling in Mayo v. Prometheus Labs might signal the end for human gene patents

Relatively hot on the heels of its 2010 ruling in Bilski v. Kappos that applied the machine-or-transformation test to business method patents before determining that such a test could create uncertainty regarding the patentability of things such as diagnostic medicine techniques, the Supreme Court tackled a similar issue earlier this week.

In Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., the high court explored the question of whether the correlation between blood test results and patient health is patentable. The plaintiffs argued that the patents in dispute are naturally occurring phenomena that should not qualify for patent protection. In a unanimous decision, the court agreed, ruling Tuesday that Prometheus cannot patent a medical test that relies on such correlations between drug dosages and treatment.

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