Prometheus Patent Quandary — Can You Patent a Medical Observation?
Lane Powell Shareholder Brian Bodine authored an article in Seattle Business magazine’s March 2012 issue titled “Prometheus Patent Quandary — Can You Patent a Medical Observation?” In the article, Bodine discussed Prometheus Laboratories’ patent for a method of optimizing treatment disorders.
Suppose your doctor measures your body’s response to a medication and then contemplates adjusting your medication accordingly. Did you doctor infringe someone’s patent? Maybe.
This spring, the United States Supreme Court is due to issue an opinion in a patent case that has the potential to allow medical observations to be patented. At issue is Prometheus Laboratories’ patent for a method of optimizing treatment disorders like Crohn’s disease. This case gives the Supreme Court an opportunity to make potentially sweeping pronouncements on the scope of “patentable subject matter,” in other words, what types of inventions qualify for patent protection. If Prometheus’ patents are upheld, the decision could be followed by a flood of patent applications for activities that take place in the health care field on a daily basis.