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This spring, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Laboratory Corp. of America Holdings (dba LabCorp) v. Metabolite Laboratories Inc., No. 04-607 (filed Nov. 3, 2004), a case in which it might redefine the limits of patentable subject matter. The Supreme Court will decide whether a patent that claims a method for detecting a form of vitamin B deficiency by “correlating” an increased level of an amino acid is invalid because one cannot patent “laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas.” In a case with far-reaching implications, the Court is poised after nearly 25 years to address the core issues of patentable subject matter.

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