Tomorrow the Supreme Court will consider a case involving a diagnostic test patent that covers not just the testing method but the biological fact on which the test relies: the correlation between high levels of the amino acid homocysteine and specific vitamin deficiencies. Among other head-scratchers, the case raises the question of whether a doctor can violate the patent simply by performing a homocysteine test and thinking about its nutritional relevance. In yesterday's New York Times, Michael Crichton mocked the patent as an example of intellectual property overreach.
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