A petition for certiorari was filed on October 1 in the case of Athena Diagnostics v. Mayo Collaborative Services asking the question: “Whether a new and specific method of diagnosing a medical condition is patent-eligible subject matter, where the method detects a molecule never previously linked to the condition using novel man-made molecules and a series of specific chemical steps never previously performed.” The petitioners hinge their argument throughout the brief on the novel beneficial utility of their claimed method…. However, benefit has not always carried the day in recent eligibility analyses….. Patent eligibility, considered to be the most important question facing the patent system, poses insidious problems under current jurisprudence to some of the most beneficial cutting-edge technology available today. What is most curious is that this problem apparently can be solved simply by reaching back to the foundations of modern patent law and the underlying requirement that inventions be “useful,” a term that has been baked into the statutory provisions since the first patent act.
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