Crichton Assails Patent System
Elevated homocysteine is linked to B-12 deficiency, so doctors should test homocysteine levels to see whether the patient needs vitamins.
“Actually, I can’t make that last statement. A corporation has patented that fact, and demands a royalty for its use. Anyone who makes the fact public and encourages doctors to test for the condition and treat it can be sued for royalty fees. Any doctor who reads a patient’s test results and even thinks of vitamin deficiency infringes the patent. A federal circuit court held that mere thinking violates the patent.
“All this may sound absurd, but it is the heart of a case that will be argued before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.”
Michael Crichton. This Essay Breaks the Law (Op-Ed). The New York Times. March 19, 2006.
U.S. Supreme Court. Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings v. Metabolite Laboratories, Inc., et al. (No. 04-607). Docketed November 5, 2004.
Patently-O. LabCorp v. Metabolite: Supreme Court To Hear Patent Case Questioning Patentability Of Medical Method. Oct. 31, 2005.
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