Blog of Obscurity

A Very Munchkinly Blog

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Insane Patents

In case you needed any more proof that our patent system has gone insane, here's a good one. Someone patented diagnosing B-12 deficiencies through homocysteine levels and is apparently filing suits against doctors who discuss it:

Pubpat Argues Against Patenting of Medical Facts: Urges Solicitor General to Do Same in Appeal Pending at Supreme Court:

The issue stems from a case that involves a patent granted by the U.S. Patent Office on diagnosing B12 or folic acid deficiency, which can cause serious human illnesses such as cancer and vascular disease, simply by knowing if a patient has an elevated homocysteine level. It is a matter of natural biology that whether someone has a B12 or folic acid insufficiency is related to whether they have a high level of homocysteine, because homocysteine is an amino acid metabolized by B12 and folic acid. Lower courts ruled that doctors who use or discuss the relationship between B12 or folic acid and homocysteine committed illegal patent infringement and the Supreme Court is now deciding whether to hear an appeal of the case.