In Mayo v. Prometheus, the Supreme Court is again addressing patentable subject matter. During oral arguments, Justice Breyer came-up with a hypothetical invention to help him draw the line on patentable subject matter.
JUSTICE BREYER: Suppose I discover that if … someone takes aspirin … for a headache and, you know, I see an amazing thing: if you look at a person’s little finger, and you notice the color [indicates that] you need a little more, unless it’s a different color, you need a little less. Now, I’ve discovered a law of nature and I may have spent millions on that. And I can’t patent that law of nature, but I say: I didn’t; I said apply it. I said: Look at his little finger.
MR. SHAPIRO: Sure.
JUSTICE BREYER: Okay? Is that a good patent or isn’t it?
MR. SHAPIRO: No … Well, because you — you’ve added to a law of nature [to] just a simple observation of the man’s little finger.
How would you respond to Justice Breyer’s idea with respect to 35 U.S.C. §101?