Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Labs., Inc.
Nine to zero, the Supreme Court holds that Prometheus’ patent claims, which cover correspondence between blood-metabolite concentrations and the likelihood that a drug dosage will prove ineffective or cause harm, are invalid because the patent “effectively claim[s] the underlying laws of nature themselves.” (Slip op. at 24.)
More importantly though, congratulations to my former antitrust professor, Herbert Hovenkamp, for being quoted by the Court:
C. Bohannan & H.Hovenkamp, Creation without Restraint: Promoting Liberty and Rivalry in Innovation 112 (2012) (“One problem with [process] patents is that the more abstractly their claims are stated, the more difficult it is to determine precisely what they cover. They risk being applied to a wide range of situations that were not anticipated by the patentee”)
At the same time, patent law’s general rules must govern inventive activity in many different fields of human endeavor, with the result that the practical effects of rules that reflect a general effort to balance these considerations may differ from one field to another. See Bohannan & Hovenkamp, Creation without Restraint, at 98–100.
I recall that Professor Hovenkamp was both brilliant and an effective teacher. Although I did not take a class with his co-author, Professor Bohannan, I remember that students regarded her very highly as well. Congrats to them both.