by Dennis Crouch
The just lately filed petition for certiorari in CareDx and Stanford College v. Eurofins Viracor, Inc. (Supreme Court docket 2023) affords a possibility to look at the patent eligibility doctrine within the context of an essential well being diagnostics innovation. The innovations at problem relate to early detection of organ transplant failure, which clearly maintain vital potential to avoid wasting lives and cut back reliance on invasive exploratory surgical procedures. The detection technique includes figuring out DNA fragments from the transplant inside the bloodstream, a problem that had stumped scientists for over a decade. Though numerous scientists had proposed mechanisms for utilizing this info, the proof exhibits greater than a decade of failed concepts, and no less than one article reported that the method is “tough and impractical.” The breakthrough got here when Stanford researchers efficiently utilized high-throughput multiplex sequencing (“shotgun sequencing”) to detect single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) distinctive to donor organs. Of potential significance, the Stanford researchers didn’t create these new sequencing methods, however they had been the primary to make the most of them on this specific context and, because the declare language under exhibits, the scientists focuses on creating thresholds as a part of a technique that notably work on this state of affairs.
Three patents are central to this case: U.S. Patent Nos. 8,703,652, 9,845,497, and 10,329,607. Declare 1 of the ‘607 patent exemplifies the claimed technique, which incorporates the next steps:
- Offering a plasma pattern from the recipient;
- extracting cell-free DNA from the pattern;
- performing “selective amplification” of goal DNA sequences, whereby that amplification “amplifies a plurality of genomic areas comprising no less than 1,000 [SNPs]” utilizing PCR;
- performing “excessive throughput sequencing” comprising a “sequencing-by-synthesis response” with an error charge of lower than 1.5%;
- offering sequences comprising “no less than 1,000 [SNPs]”; and
- quantifying the proportion of donor-derived DNA, utilizing distinguishing biomarkers drawn from these no less than 1,000 SNPs, and whereby the donor’s cell-free DNA includes no less than 0.03% of the whole within the pattern.
The Infringement Lawsuit: The Delaware District Court docket initially denied defendants’ motions to dismiss and for abstract judgment of ineligibility. Nevertheless, Chief Decide Connolly later reconsidered the abstract judgment movement and in the end dominated that the claims had been ineligible beneath the two-step evaluation set forth in Mayo Collaborative Providers v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., 566 U.S. 66 (2012). The Federal Circuit affirmed this choice.
The petition to the Supreme Court docket raises the next easy query: Is a brand new and helpful technique for measuring a pure phenomenon, which improves upon prior strategies for measuring the identical phenomenon, eligible for patent safety beneath Part 101? The petition emphasizes the significance of this case in comparison with Tropp and Interactive Wearables, and it underscores the necessity for the Supreme Court docket to evaluation its software of eligibility exceptions to medical diagnostics.
This case has probably vital implications for US patent regulation doctrine in addition to potential influence on funding in medical diagnostics. We’ll be following the case carefully and speaking extra about its potential results.