It then traces the history of patent law covering ideas which consistently forbade such patents but by 1994, was patenting "any software with a practical purpose."
The instant case began "in 2004, [when] Prometheus claimed the Mayo Clinic had infringed a patent on a seemingly simple process for diagnosing patients. The procedure was the kind of analysis based on observation that doctors do every day, the clinic maintained. But the Federal Circuit upheld the patent. The Supreme Court is to hear oral arguments in the case on Dec. 7."
"The seven years of litigation are one cost of a broken system. The number of federal patent infringement lawsuits has soared, to more than 3,300 last year from about 800 in 1980. Legal experts say the suits have cost companies hundreds of billions of dollars a year."
"But the greater expense may be lost innovation. The risk of getting sued discourages research investment and delays medical breakthroughs the opposite of what those who devised the patent system intended. Reversing years of damaging precedents is hard, but a Supreme Court ruling against Prometheus would be a start."
Hope rises. We will be watching.