The American Wood-Paper Company v. The Fibre Disintegrating CompanyCase details:
The American Wood Paper Co.'s patent for purirfied cellulose was denied by the Supreme Court because the refined cellulose was exactly the same compound as existed in the original plant. Impact:
This is a clear example of natural phenomena (a naturally-occurring substance) being ineligble for patent.
Cochrane v. Badische Anilin & Soda FabrikCase details:
In this case, a synthetic version of alizarine, a red dye, was rejected for patent because it was not markedly different from the original substance, it was just manufactured by a different process. Impact:
This is a clear example of natural phenomena being ineligble for patent, because the red dye is a naturally occurring substance.
General Electric Company v. De Forest Radio CompanyCase details:
In this case the court ruled that pure tungsten cannot be patented, because the process of purification does not create the useful properties of the tungsten. Impact:
This is an example of a natural phenomenon (pure substance) that was not allowed to be patented.
Gottschalk v. BensonCase details:
Benson attempted to patent an algorithm for converting decimal and binary numbers. The court rejected his patent because it attempted to patent a mathematical formula, which is a naturally occurring phenomenon. Impact:
This is an example of a natural phenomenon that was not allowed to be patented.
Parker v. FlookCase details:
Much like Benson, this case deals with a mathematical formula patent. In this case however, the patent dealt with useful applications of the formula to adjusting values related to alarms. The patent was deemed ineligible. Impact:
This is a case of a natural phenomenon being ineligible for patent, but it adds the distinction that even the useful application of a formula to a process cannot be patented.
Diamond v. ChakrabartyCase details:
Diamond contests a patent for a patent on bacterium created by Chakrabarty. The court upholds the patent, stating that the bacterium is man-made because it's entire genome was designed by man and it does not occur in nature. Impact:
The Diamond case is a good example of broad interpretation, because it broadens the patent pool to living things. It also demonstrates that living things can be distinct from natural phenomena if they are of human design and have a specific utility.
Laboratory Corporation of American Holdings v. Metabolite Labs, Inc.Case details:
The patent in this case concerned the relationship between the level of an amino acid in bodily fluid and deficiencies in nutrients inside patient's bodies. The patent was thrown out because it seeked to "claim monopoly over a basic scientific relationship" Impact:
This is a clear example of natural phenomena (the relationship between the two chemicals) and abstract process (measuring one chemical level to determine a deficiency in the other) being ineligible for patent.
In re. BilskyCase Details:
This opinion was given on the appeal of a patent describing a method of profiting from a certain business model. The judge rejected the patent and established that methods or processes must be tied to a machine or must significantly transform one thing into another, Impact:
This case is the beginning of the abstract methods precedent, because it is in this case that the judge establishes the qualification that processes must deal with physical machines or transformations.
ACLU v. MyriadCase details:
This is a case concerning the patent and use of the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes. Myriad genetics currently has patents on both genes, but Judge Sweet's decision has deemed them inelgigible for patent. This case is currently in appeal. Impact:
This case will be a landmark case concerning the patenting of genetic material.