La Cour Suprême des États-Unis invalide un brevet sur un “phénomène naturel”

Dans Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings v. Metabolite Laboratories, Inc., la Cour Suprême des États-Unis a décidé à 5 contre 3, lors d’un jugement “per curiam”, que le brevet no. 4,940,658 était invalide car il concerne un “phénomène naturel”. Plus précisement, le brevet porte sur une méthode pour détecter une déficience en vitamine B, revendiquant deux étapes (revendication 13 en anglais): 1) assaying a body fluid for an elevated level of total homocysteine; and 2) correlating an elevated level of total homocysteine in said body fluid with a deficiency of cobalamin or folate.

Selon l’argumentation des Juges: “At most, respondent have simply described the natural law at issue in the abstract patent language of a “process”. But they cannot avoid the fact that the process is no more than an isntruction to read some numbers in light of medical knowledge.”…

“[w]hether a method patent . . . directing a party simply to ‘correlate’ test results can validly claim a monopoly over a basic scientific relationship . . . such that any doctor necessarily infringes the patentmerely by thinking about the relationship after looking at a test result.”

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