Lauren Miller

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In Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., the United States Supreme Court considered whether it would uphold patents on the "bounty" arising from laws of nature, specifically, diagnostic tests based on natural laws that determined the efficacy and toxicity of certain thiopurine drugs. In a unanimous ruling, the Court invalidated the patents, which were held by respondent Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. (Prometheus). The Court ultimately concluded that the processes for which Prometheus claimed patents did not add "significantly more" to the underlying laws of nature, and thus did not warrant patent protection. The Mayo decision is likely to have a strong impact on the future of patent protection in the fields of biotechnology and personalized medicine, particularly in the emerging area of patenting human genes.