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Supreme Court to consider § 101 again: Prometheus returns

October 10, 2011

By Christine Willgoos and Petra Scamborova

On 20 June 2011, the Supreme Court granted Mayos petition for a writ of certiorari to review Federal Circuits holding that Prometheus's patents claiming methods for determining optimal dosages of thiopurine drugs to treat certain diseases were directed to statutory subject matter pursuant to 35 USC § 101. With this grant, the Supreme Court has agreed to re-enter the field of patent-eligible subject matter of method claims, only a little over a year after its decision in Bilski. The outcome of this case is eagerly awaited and likely to have broad implications on the validity of patents in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors, where many patents claim methods similar to those at issue in Prometheus. Briefing will occur over the next several months with a decision likely to come by the end of the term in June 2012.