Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Mayo’s impact on patent applications related to biotechnology, diagnostics and personalized medicine

On the sixth anniversary of Mayo v. Prometheus, what impact has the US Supreme Court decision had on patent subject-matter eligibility and the prosecution of biotech-related patent applications before the US Patent and Trademark Office?

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: The fate of patent applications with Mayo citations.


  1. 1.

    Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. 132 S. Ct. 1289 (2012).

  2. 2.

    Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014).

  3. 3.

    Haanes, E. J. & Cànaves, J. M. Nat. Biotechnol. 30, 758–760 (2012).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Fox, J. L. Nat. Biotechnol. 30, 373–374 (2012).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Malecek, M.J. et al. Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Sequenom, Inc. v. Ariosa Diagnostics Inc., et al., No. 15-1182, (2016).

  6. 6.

    Eisenberg, R. S. J. Sci. Technol. Law 21, 256–286 (2015).

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Minssen, T. & Nilsson, D. Queen Mary J. Intellect. Prop. 2, 376–388 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc. 788 F.3d 1371 (2015).

  9. 9.

    Holman, C. M. Geo. Mason Law Rev. 23, 901–940 (2016).

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Valoir, T. HIPLA comments on patent subject matter eligibility. (2017).

  11. 11.

    Bahr, R.W. Changes in examination procedure pertaining to subject matter eligibility, recent subject matter eligibility decision (Berkheimer v. HP, Inc.). USPTO (2018).

  12. 12.

    Chao, B. & Mapes, A. Patently-O Patent Law J. 10, 10–14, (2016).

  13. 13.

    Ledford, H. Nature 536, 382 (2016).

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc. 133 S. Ct. 2107 (2013).

  15. 15.

    USPTO. RCE outreach statistics (USPTO, 2012).

  16. 16.

    Gaudry, K., Grab, L. & McKeon, T.W. IPWatchdog (2015).

  17. 17.

    Davis, R. Law360 (2016).

  18. 18.

    Sachs, R.R. Twenty-two ways Congress can save section 101. Bilski Blog (2015).

  19. 19.

    Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. West-Ward Pharmaceuticals International Limited, West-Ward Pharmaceuticals Corp. 887 F.3d 1117 (2018).

  20. 20.

    Bahr, R.W. Recent subject matter eligibility decision: Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. West-Ward Pharmaceuticals. USPTO (2018).

  21. 21.

    Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Aventisub LLC v. Roxane Laboratories, Inc. 203 F. Supp.3d 412 (2016).

  22. 22.

    USPTO subject matter eligibility examples: life sciences (2016).

Download references


The research was supported, in part, by a Novo Nordisk Foundation Grant for a scientifically independent Collaborative Research Programme in Biomedical Innovation Law (grant no. NNF17SA027784).

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mateo Aboy.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Supplementary information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Aboy, M., Crespo, C., Liddell, K. et al. Mayo’s impact on patent applications related to biotechnology, diagnostics and personalized medicine. Nat Biotechnol 37, 513–518 (2019).

Download citation

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing