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Personalized Medicine Gets Boost From Court Ruling on Patents

  • Application of ’laws of nature’ are eligible for patents
  • Decision is boon to companies that feared stricter rules
An employee works in front of centrifuge tubes containing amino acid in an automated microwave peptide synthesizer at the PeptiDream Inc. laboratory inside the The University of Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, April 14, 2016. PeptiDream is part of a handful of Japanese biotech ventures that have grown into billion-dollar companies.
Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

The business of diagnostic treatments and personalized medicine got a boost Tuesday after an appeals court made it harder to invalidate certain patents by claiming they simply cover laws of nature.

Patents can be obtained for processes relating to laws of nature if they go at least one step further, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said. The Washington court, which specializes in patent law, overturned a ruling that a patent owned by closely held Rapid Litigation Management Ltd. was invalid, and revived an infringement suit against a unit of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.