Supreme Court maintains ruling to invalidate patent for prenatal test

The U.S. Supreme court rejected on Monday San Diego-based Sequenom's petition to review litigation that invalidated its patent on a new type of prenatal test, according to Reuters.

Sequenom's patent applied to a non-invasive blood test that detects fetal DNA to screen for genetic abnormalities, avoiding dangerous and invasive techniques that could harm women and fetuses. The patent was cancelled in 2013 during an infringement dispute with San Jose, Calif.-based Ariosa Diagnostics, a branch of Roche Holding AG.

In 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington admitted the patent "revolutionized" prenatal care, but still upheld the patent's invalidation, as it violated a ruling against patenting natural phenomena created after the Mayo v. Prometheus Supreme Court case in 2012.

Citing the sweeping language of the Mayo verdict, the Supreme Court rejected the petition and upheld the patent's cancellation, despite the blood test's advances in patient care and treatment.

Many companies that supported Sequenom's petition, including Microsoft and Novartis, are concerned that new discoveries will no longer be granted patents in light of the court's decision.

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