May 5, 2023

Patent Eligibility at the Supreme Court: Another Petitioner Throws Its Hat in the Ring

Holland & Knight Section 101 Blog
Anthony J. Fuga
Section 101 Blog

In our roundup on April 28, we mentioned that the Solicitor General suggested that the U.S. Supreme Court grant cert in two pending patent eligibility cases: 1) Tropp v. Travel Sentry and 2) Interactive Wearables v. Polar Electro. (Disclaimer: Holland & Knight, including the author, represents the respondent in Interactive Wearables v. Polar Electro. Our briefs at the Supreme Court can be read here and here.)

CareDx Inc. on May 1 petitioned for a writ of certiorari and argues that its case, not the two cases mentioned above, is best for Supreme Court review. Petitioners make a number of arguments we've seen in previous petitions but also differentiate their case from the other pending petitions:

  1. The patents at issue are related to medical diagnostics, something that the federal government, Congress and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit have called important. The Tropp and Interactive Wearables petitions are focused on the abstract idea exception to patent eligibility.
  2. This case has an interesting – or at least a more interesting – history: The magistrate recommended the motion to dismiss on patent eligibility be denied and the district judge agreed; the district court initially denied a motion for summary judgment on eligibility grounds but reconsidered its decision sua sponte and granted summary judgment, finding the patents to be ineligible under Section 101. The Federal Circuit agreed and provided a written opinion, unlike in Interactive Wearables.
  3. The petitioner argues that its case would allow the court to "focus on the text" of the statute, which, it argues, "provides a clear textually-grounded answer in a natural-phenomenon case," based upon the claimed "improvement on prior useful methods for measuring a particular natural phenomenon."

The case is titled CareDx Inc., et al., v. Natera, Inc. et al. The conference for both the Tropp and Interactive Wearables petitions is set for May 11, so we will have more insight shortly.

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