Patenting Medical Facts – A Diagnosis for B12 Deficiency

Argh – I don’t believe how silly US patents are getting these days! Found through this Groklaw story.

The Public Patent Foundation has a statement condemning the issuing of a patent diagnosing B12 deficiency by looking for elevated homocysteine levels, a medical fact, and asking for it to be revoked.

“This result is not only perverse public policy – placing the rights of patent holders above the rights of doctors to perform medical diagnosis and discuss a natural biological relationship – but it also violates patent law, which mandates that only processes, machines, manufactures, and compositions of matter are eligible for patent protection,” states PUBPAT’s position statement titled, Supreme Court Should Protect Medical Facts and the Right of Doctors to Use and Discuss Them From Patents. “The public, including specifically those wishing to use and learn from laws of biology, is significantly harmed by a failure to maintain the limits on patent eligibility because patents can – and often do – prevent important medical treatment and scientific research.”