Home -> Law Blog Directory -> Intellectual Property Law Blogs -> IP Blawg
(866) 635-2689 for Personal Injury or (866) 635-9402 for Criminal Defense
Find a Local Lawyer
Divorce (866) 635-6190
Personal Injury (866) 635-2689
Criminal Defense (866) 635-9402
Intellectual Property Law: IP Blawg
The Supreme Court Punts On Patentability
By Farella Braun + Martel LLP
In a decision that has many court watchers scratching their heads, the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday ?dismissed as improvidently granted? the writ of certiorari in Laboratory Corporation of America v. Metabolite Laboratories, Inc. The one-sentence per curiam ruling put an end to a case that experienced several strange twists on its way to and from the Supreme Court. Indeed, it was not the dismissal of the writ of certiorari that has patent lawyers perplexed, so much as the fact that the Court took the case in the first place. Certainly, the dismissal did not surprise the Blawg, as we read the tea leaves after the oral argument in the Supreme Court to suggest that the Court would move in that direction.
The case had a relatively typical history until it reached the Supreme Court. Metabolite initially obtained a judgment that LabCorp had willfully infringed a patent that claimed homocysteine assays, and the Federal Circuit affirmed. LabCorp sought Supreme Court review, raising the issue of whether the patent improperly claimed an unpatentable ?law of nature.? Despite the urging of the Solicitor General that the Court not review the case, in part because the issue had not been raised in either the district court or the Federal Circuit, the Supreme Court granted certiorari. Somewhere along the way, it had second thoughts, as evidenced by the dismissal this week.
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Breyer, joined by Justices Stevens and Souter, stated that the Court should have decided the case because it ?said [it] would do so. The parties and amici have fully briefed the question. And those who engage in medical research, who practice medicine, and who as patients depend upon proper health care, might well benefit from this Court?s authoritative answer.? He went on to conclude that he would have ruled the patent invalid.
The Supreme Court will almost certainly take a case raising the ?law of nature? issue under cleaner procedural circumstances. Will Justice Breyer be able to convince two more justices to agree with his point of view? Read the Blawg to find out.
Today's Blogger: Bob Sloss
Search Blog Directory: