17 Jan U.S. Supreme Court Lets Stand Federal Circuit Decision Denying that a Discovered Diagnostic Correlation is Patentable Subject Matter
The denied petition by Athena was for restoration of its patent over using a newly discovered natural phenomenon: correlation between a particular antibody and a particular neurological disease. Athena asserted that the “method detects a molecule never previously linked to the condition using novel man-made molecules and a series of specific chemical steps never previously performed.” Mayo asserted that the “molecule” and process steps arose from the use of admitted “standard” laboratory techniques applied to the newly discovered phenomenon, and that the patent therefore attempted to monopolize the natural phenomena. The decision suggests that the courts are still grappling with confusion between testing for “patentable subject matter” and “non-obviousness.” Athena Diagnostics, Inc., et al., Petitioners v. Mayo Collaborative Services, LLC, dba Mayo Medical Laboratories, et al. No. 19-430.