The Supreme Court are poised to rule in Mayo v Prometheus, a case that concerns whether medical procedures for adjusting the dosage of an out-of-patent drug can be patented. If the Supremes rule in favor of the patentability of adjusting drug doses and other common medical procedures, it will make doctors liable as patent infringers merely for practicing medicine. What's worse, judging from the hearings, the justices are ready and willing to make this loony idea into the new standard for patentability.
The American Medical Association’s brief on the matter argues that ”If claims to exclusive rights over the body’s natural responses to illness and medical treatment are permitted to stand, the result will be a vast thicket of exclusive rights over the use of critical scientific data that must remain widely available if physicians are to provide sound medical care.”
“Conscientious physicians will be unwilling and unable to avoid considering all relevant scientific information when reviewing test results. Thus, as medical knowledge accumulates, patent licenses increasingly will be required for physicians to conduct even well established diagnostic tests.”
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.