The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed from its docket a closely watched patent case, saving for another day a decision on whether a naturally occurring scientific relationship can be patented.

The Court’s surprise action came in Laboratory Corp. v. Metabolite Laboratories, a dispute over the patentability of a correlation between blood composition and a vitamin deficiency. The dismissal came without explanation. But an unusual dissent by Justice Stephen Breyer hinted that the high court had dismissed the case because the patentability issue was not squarely raised before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which ruled on the case in 2004.

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