Oral argument: Dec. 7, 2011
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Dec. 17, 2010)
In this case, the Supreme Court will evaluate the validity of two patents held by Respondent Prometheus Laboratories. Prometheus had marketed a multistep medical test based on these patents, which describe the proper dosage range of powerful immunosuppressive drugs. However, after Petitioner Mayo Medical Laboratories announced its intention to market a competing medical test in 2004, Prometheus sued for patent infringement. Mayo now argues that the patents are invalid because they seek to monopolize a natural phenomenon, preempting all other uses of a naturally occurring correlation between metabolites and patient health. Prometheus, on the other hand, argues that the patents are valid because they involve concrete applications and cover patentable correlations, not just natural phenomena. The decision in this case may affect the cost and quality of patient health care, as well as the incentives for research and development in the medical industry.