Director Pauline M. Pelletier was quoted in the article, "Court Rules Medical Diagnostic Can’t Be Patented, Leaving Biotech in ‘Legal Mess,’" published by Bloomberg. On February 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Quest Diagnostics Inc.’s diagnostic technique for a severe neurological disorder could not be patented because it covers a law of nature. Quest Diagnostics Inc.’s Athena unit sued the Mayo Clinic in 2015 seeking royalties on tests conducted by the Minnesota medical facility.
The case was high profile as practitioners hoped the outcome would clarify the patenting process for medical diagnostic tests. Pelletier said the case has been “an unwieldy and onerous test” that requires inventors to explain how they are not trying to patent a law of nature, but a specific technique.
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