Biomedicals and consumers alike await a crucial Supreme Court decision on patentability of diagnostic methods

Yesterday’s argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in Mayo Collaborative Services et al v. Prometheus Laboratories Inc. (No. 10-1150) is the last step before the court (presumably) decides if medical diagnostic processes (instructions for observing changes in a patient relative to a drug’s dosages) are eligible for patent protection.

Justice Stephen Breyer had the best take when he questioned both sides on the demarcation between observation of natural phenomena and “application of an observation of a natural phenomenon.”

The American Intellectual Property Law Association backs Prometheus and their patents on methods of diagnosing and treating disease. AARP and other consumer groups support Mayo, suggesting such patents stifle innovation and drive up costs.