In a 2-1 decision, a Federal Circuit panel held today that patent claims directed to a method of screening cancer therapeutics using isolated DNA sequences are drawn to patent-eligible subject matter. Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., __ F.3d __ (Fed. Cir. 2012)(Lourie, J.) The same panel held that claims directed at methods involving merely “comparing” or “analyzing” DNA sequences are unpatentable as abstract ideas. The decision, came after the Supreme Court vacated and remanded a prior Federal Circuit ruling in the same case for reconsideration in view of the Supreme Court’s rationale in Collaborative Services v. Prometheus, Inc., 566 U.S. ___, 132 S. Ct. 1289 (2012).
It is hard to underestimate the importance of this decision. It is widely expected that this case will be back before the Supreme Court.