Summary Box: Court throws out Prometheus patent

AP News
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Posted: Mar 20, 2012 11:20 AM
Summary Box: Court throws out Prometheus patent

THE RULING: The Supreme Court has tossed out a medical patent for Prometheus Laboratories, a decision that could affect the burgeoning field of personalized medicine.

THE DETAILS: The justices on Tuesday unanimously agreed that the patent held by the company _ owned by Switzerland-based Nestle _ was invalid. The patent covers a blood test that helps doctors determine the proper dosage for a drug, thiopurine, to treat autoimmune illnesses.

THE BACKGROUND: Courts have been fighting over whether the Prometheus test had patented a natural phenomenon, which cannot be patented.