AMA Welcomes Supreme Court Decision to Invalidate Prometheus Patents
For immediate release:
March 20, 2012
Statement attributable to:
Robert M. Wah, MD
Chair, AMA Board
“The U.S. Supreme Court prevented irreparable harm to patient care with today’s unanimous decision to invalidate two patents that gave Prometheus Laboratories exclusive rights over the body’s natural responses to illness and medical treatment. This is a clear legal victory that ensures critical scientific data remain widely available for sound patient care and innovative medical research.
“Medical innovations that provide insight into natural human biology must remain freely accessible and widely disseminated. Blocking this information from physicians and researchers inhibits future discoveries.
“If the Prometheus patents had remained in force, physicians would have encountered a vast thicket of exclusive rights that would prevent them from considering all relevant scientific information when reviewing diagnostic test results.
“An undivided high court agreed, noting that the patents hamper the ability of physicians to provide quality patient care by tying up treatment decisions and ‘threaten[ing] to inhibit the development of more refined treatment recommendations.’
“The Litigation Center of the American Medical Association and State Medical Societies joined with 10 other health care organizations in an amicus brief regarding this important case. The brief condemned the Prometheus’ patents as inappropriate due to the fact that they extended to unpatentable products of nature, not inventions of man.”
Robert J. Mills
American Medical Association