Supreme Court Denies Sequenom’s Petition for Certiorari


On June 27, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, denied Sequenom’s petition for certiorari, leaving in place the Court’s previous rulings prohibiting the patenting of laws of nature and natural phenomenon.

Sequenom filed its writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on March 21, 2016, asking the Court to provide clarification regarding the limits of 35 U.S.C. §101. Sequenom’s petition presented the following issue:

Whether a novel method is patent-eligible where

(1) a researcher is the first to discover a natural phenomenon,

(2) that unique knowledge motivates him to apply a new combination of known techniques to that discovery and

(3) he thereby achieves a previously impossible result without preempting other uses of the discovery.

Petition for Writ of Certiorari at i, Sequenom, Inc., v. Ariosa Diagnostic, Inc., No. 15-1182 (March 21, 2016). See for further discussion.

With numerous amicus briefs filed in support of Sequenom’s petition, the life science community eagerly awaited the Supreme Court’s decision to grant the petition and clarify the scope of Section 101 as it relates to laws of nature and natural phenomenon. The Court’s decision not to grant the petition, or provide any comment as to why this case was not a suitable case to hear, leaves the life science community with numerous unanswered questions regarding the scope of 35 U.S.C. §101. As previously stated by Judge Linn in the Federal Circuit’s ruling, courts will remain “bound by the sweeping language of the test set out in Mayo.” Ariosa Diagnostic, Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc., 788 F.3d 1380 (Fed. Cir. 2015).

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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