united states court

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Each human gene is encoded as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which takes the shape of a “double helix.” Each “cross-bar” in that helix consists of two chemically joined nucleotides. Sequences of DNA nucleotides contain the information necessary to create strings of amino acids used to build proteins in the body. The nucleotides that code for amino acids are “exons,” and those that do not are “introns.” Scientists can extract DNA from cells to isolate specific segments for study. They can also synthetically create exons-only strands of nucleotides known as complementary DNA (cDNA). cDNA contains only the exons that occur in DNA, omitting the intervening introns. Respondent Myriad Genetics, Inc. (Myriad), obtained several patents after discovering the precise location and sequence of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, mutations of which can dramatically increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. This knowledge allowed Myriad to determine the genes’ typical nucleotide sequence, which, in turn, enabled it to develop medical tests useful for detecting mutations in these genes in a particular patient to assess the patient’s cancer risk. If valid, Myriad’s patents would give it the exclusive right to isolate an individual’s BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, and would give Myriad the exclusive right to synthetically create BRCA cDNA. Petitioners filed suit, seeking a declaration that Myriad’s patents are invalid under 35 U. S. C. §101. As relevant here, the District Court granted summary judgment to petitioners, concluding that Myriad’s claims were invalid because they covered products of nature. The Federal Circuit initially reversed, but on remand in light of Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., 566 U. S. ___, the Circuit found both isolated DNA and cDNA patent eligible. 2 ASSOCIATION FOR MOLECULAR PATHOLOGY v. MYRIAD GENETICS, INC. Syllabus Held: A naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated, but cDNA is patent eligible because it is not naturally occurring. Pp. 10–18. (a) The Patent Act permits patents to be issued to “[w]hoever invents or discovers any new and useful . . . composition of matter,” §101, but “laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas” “ ‘are basic tools of scientific and technological work’ ” that lie beyond the domain of patent protection, Mayo, supra, at ___. The rule against patents on naturally occurring things has limits, however. Patent protection strikes a delicate balance between creating “incentives that lead to creation, invention, and discovery” and “imped[ing] the flow of information that might permit, indeed spur, invention.” Id., at ___. This standard is used to determine whether Myriad’s patents claim a “new and useful . . . composition of matter,” §101, or claim naturally occurring phenomena. Pp. 10–11. (b) Myriad’s DNA claim falls within the law of nature exception. Myriad’s principal contribution was uncovering the precise location and genetic sequence of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U. S. 303, is central to the patent-eligibility inquiry whether such action was new “with markedly different characteristics from any found in nature,” id., at 310. Myriad did not create or alter either the genetic information encoded in the BCRA1 and BCRA2 genes or the genetic structure of the DNA. It found an important and useful gene, but groundbreaking, innovative, or even brilliant discovery does not by itself satisfy the §101 inquiry. See Funk Brothers Seed Co. v. Kalo Inoculant Co., 333 U. S. 127. Finding the location of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes does not render the genes patent eligible “new . . . composition[s] of matter,” §101. Myriad’s patent descriptions highlight the problem with its claims: They detail the extensive process of discovery, but extensive effort alone is insufficient to satisfy §101’s demands. Myriad’s claims are not saved by the fact that isolating DNA from the human genome severs the chemical bonds that bind gene molecules together. The claims are not expressed in terms of chemical composition, nor do they rely on the chemical changes resulting from the isolation of a particular DNA section. Instead, they focus on the genetic information encoded in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Finally, Myriad argues that the Patent and Trademark Office’s past practice of awarding gene patents is entitled to deference, citing J. E. M. Ag Supply, Inc. v. Pioneer Hi-Bred Int’l, Inc., 534 U. S. 124, a case where Congress had endorsed a PTO practice in subsequent legislation. There has been no such endorsement here, and the United States argued in the Federal Circuit and in this Court that isolated DNA was not patent eligible under §101. Pp. 12–16. Cite as: 569 U. S. ____ (2013) 3 Syllabus (c) cDNA is not a “product of nature,” so it is patent eligible under §101. cDNA does not present the same obstacles to patentability as naturally occurring, isolated DNA segments. Its creation results in an exons-only molecule, which is not naturally occurring. Its order of the exons may be dictated by nature, but the lab technician unquestionably creates something new when introns are removed from a DNA sequence to make cDNA. Pp. 16–17. (d) This case, it is important to note, does not involve method claims, patents on new applications of knowledge about the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, or the patentability of DNA in which the order of the naturally occurring nucleotides has been altered. Pp. 17–18. 689 F. 3d 1303, affirmed in part and reversed in part.

(Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2012 1     Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of … Continue reading

The Port of Los Angeles, a division of the City of Los Angeles, is run by a Board of Harbor Commissioners pursuant to a municipal ordinance known as a tariff. The Port leases marine terminal facilities to operators that load cargo onto and unload it from docking ships. Federally licensed short-haul trucks, called “drayage trucks,” assist in those operations by moving cargo into and out of the Port. In 2007, in response to community concerns over the impact of a proposed port expansion on traffic, the environment, and safety, the Board implemented a Clean Truck Program. As part of that program, the Board devised a standard-form “concession agreement” to govern the relationship between the Port and drayage companies. The agreement requires a company to affix a placard on each truck with a phone number for reporting concerns, and to submit a plan listing off-street parking locations for each truck. Other requirements relate to a company’s financial capacity, its maintenance of trucks, and its employment of drivers. The concession agreement sets out penalties for violations, including possible suspension or revocation of the right to provide drayage services. The Board also amended the Port’s tariff to ensure that every drayage company would enter into the agreement. The amended tariff makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by fine or imprisonment, for a terminal operator to grant access to an unregistered drayage truck. Petitioner American Trucking Associations, Inc. (ATA), whose members include many of the drayage companies at the Port, sued the Port and City, seeking an injunction against the concession agreement’s requirements. ATA principally contended that the requirements are expressly preempted by the Federal Aviation Admin-2 AMERICAN TRUCKING ASSNS., INC. v. LOS ANGELES Syllabus istration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA), see 49 U. S. C. §14501(c)(1). ATA also argued that even if the requirements are valid, Castle v. Hayes Freight Lines, Inc., 348 U. S. 61, prevents the Port from enforcing the requirements by withdrawing a defaulting company’s right to operate at the Port. The District Court held that neither §14501(c)(1) nor Castle prevented the Port from proceeding with its program. The Ninth Circuit mainly affirmed, finding only the driveremployment provision preempted and rejecting petitioner’s Castle claim. Held: 1. The FAAAA expressly preempts the concession agreement’s placard and parking requirements. Section 14501(c)(1) preempts a state “law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier . . . with respect to the transportation of property.” 49 U. S. C. §14501(c)(1). Because the parties agree that the Port’s placard and parking requirements relate to a motor carrier’s price, route, or service with respect to transporting property, the only disputed question is whether those requirements “hav[e] the force and effect of law.” Section 14501(c)(1) draws a line between a government’s exercise of regulatory authority and its own contract-based participation in a market. The statute’s “force and effect of law” language excludes from the clause’s scope contractual arrangements made by a State when it acts as a market participant, not as a regulator. See, e.g., American Airlines, Inc. v. Wolens, 513 U. S. 219, 229. But here, the Port exercised classic regulatory authority in imposing the placard and parking requirements. It forced terminal operators—and through them, trucking companies—to alter their conduct by implementing a criminal prohibition punishable by imprisonment. That counts as action “having the force and effect of law” if anything does. The Port’s primary argument to the contrary focuses on motives rather than means. But the Port’s proprietary intentions do not control. When the government employs a coercive mechanism, available to no private party, it acts with the force and effect of law, whether or not it does so to turn a profit. Only if it forgoes the (distinctively governmental) exercise of legal authority may it escape §14501(c)(1)’s preemptive scope. That the criminal sanctions fall on terminal operators, not directly on the trucking companies, also makes no difference. See, e.g., Rowe v. New Hampshire Motor Transp. Assn., 552 U. S. 364, 371–373. Pp. 6−10. 2. This Court declines to decide in the case’s present, preenforcement posture whether Castle limits the way the Port can enforce the financial-capacity and truck-maintenance requirements upheld by the Ninth Circuit. Castle rebuffed a State’s attempt to bar a Cite as: 569 U. S. ____ (2013) 3 Syllabus federally licensed motor carrier from its highways for past infringements of state safety regulations. But Castle does not prevent a State from taking off the road a vehicle that is contemporaneously out of compliance with such regulations. And at this juncture, there is no basis for finding that the Port will actually use the concession agreement’s penalty provision as Castle proscribes. Pp. 10−12. 660 F. 3d 384, reversed in part and remanded.

(Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2012 1     Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of … Continue reading

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES When petitioner Setser was indicted in a Texas court on drug charges, the State also moved to revoke the probation term that he was then serving for another drug offense. At about the same time, Setser pleaded guilty to federal drug charges. The Federal District Court imposed a 151-month sentence to run consecutively to any state sentence imposed for the probation violation, but concurrently with any state sentence imposed on the new drug charge. While Setser’s federal appeal was pending, the state court sentenced him to 5 years for the probation violation and 10 years for the drug charge, but ordered the sentences to be served concurrently. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the federal sentence, holding that the District Court had authority to order a sentence consecutive to an anticipated state sentence, and that Setser’s sentence was reasonable, even if the state court’s decision made it unclear exactly how to administer it. Held: 1. The District Court had discretion to order that Setser’s federal sentence run consecutively to his anticipated state sentence for the probation violation. Pp. 2–12. (a) Judges have traditionally had broad discretion in selecting whether the sentences they impose will run concurrently or consecutively with respect to other sentences that they impose, or that have been imposed in other proceedings, including state proceedings, see Oregon v. Ice, 555 U. S. 160, 168–169. The statutory text and structure do not foreclose a district court’s exercise of this discretion with respect to anticipated state sentences. The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 addresses the concurrent-vs.-consecutive decision, but not the situation here, since the District Court did not impose “multiple terms of imprisonment . . . at the same time,” and Setser was not “al- 2 SETSER v. UNITED STATES Syllabus ready subject to” the state sentences at issue, 18 U. S. C. §3584(a). This does not mean, as Setser and the Government claim, that the District Court lacked authority to act as it did and that the Bureau of Prisons is to make the concurrent-vs.-consecutive decision after the federal sentence has been imposed. Section 3621(b), from which the Bureau claims to derive this authority, says nothing about concurrent or consecutive sentences. And it is more natural to read §3584(a) as leaving room for the exercise of judicial discretion in situations not covered than it is to read §3621(b) as giving the Bureau what amounts to sentencing authority. Setser’s arguments to the contrary are unpersuasive. Pp. 2–8. (b) None of the other objections raised by Setser and the Government requires a different result. Pp. 8–12. 2. The state court’s subsequent decision to make the state sentences run concurrently does not establish that the Federal District Court imposed an unreasonable sentence. The difficulty here arises not from the federal-court sentence—which is to run concurrently with one state sentence and consecutively with another—but from the state court’s decision. Deciding which of the District Court’s dispositions should prevail under these circumstances is a problem, but it does not show the District Court’s sentence to be unlawful. The reasonableness standard for reviewing federal sentences asks whether the district court abused its discretion, see Gall v. United States, 552 U. S. 38, 46, but Setser identifies no flaw in the District Court’s decisionmaking process, nor anything available at the time of sentencing that the court failed to consider. Where late-onset facts make it difficult, or even impossible, to implement the sentence, the Bureau of Prisons may determine, in the first instance, how long the District Court’s sentence authorizes it to continue Setser’s confinement, subject to the potential for judicial review. Pp. 12–14. 607 F. 3d 128, affirmed. SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS, ALITO, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. BREYER, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which KENNEDY and GINSBURG, JJ., joined.

(Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2011 1 Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for … Continue reading

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) creates a comprehensive scheme to pay compensation for an eligible employee’s disability or death resulting from injury occurring upon the navigable waters of the United States. Benefits for most types of disabilities are capped at twice the national average weekly wage for the fiscal year in which an injured employee is “newly awarded compensation.” 33 U. S. C. §906(c). The LHWCA requires employers to pay benefits voluntarily, without formal administrative proceedings. Typically, employers pay benefits without contesting liability, so no compensation orders are issued. However, if an employer controverts liability, or an employee contests his employer’s actions with respect to his benefits, the dispute proceeds to the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) to be resolved, if possible, through informal procedures. An informal disposition may result in a compensation order. If not resolved informally, the dispute is referred to an administrative law judge (ALJ), who conducts a hearing and issues a compensation order. In fiscal year 2002, petitioner Roberts was injured at an Alaska marine terminal while working for respondent Sea-Land Services, Inc. Sea-Land (except for six weeks in 2003) voluntarily paid Roberts benefits until fiscal year 2005. Roberts then filed an LHWCA claim, and Sea-Land controverted. In fiscal year 2007, an ALJ awarded Roberts benefits at the fiscal year 2002 statutory maximum rate. Roberts sought reconsideration, contending that the award should have been set at the higher statutory maximum rate for fiscal year 2007, when, he argued, he was “newly awarded compensation” by order of the ALJ. The ALJ denied his motion, and the Department of Labor’s Benefits Review Board affirmed, concluding that the perti- 2 ROBERTS v. SEA-LAND SERVICES, INC. Syllabus nent maximum rate is determined by the date disability commences. The Ninth Circuit affirmed. Held: An employee is “newly awarded compensation” when he first becomes disabled and thereby becomes statutorily entitled to benefits, no matter whether, or when, a compensation order issues on his behalf. Pp. 5−18. (a) Roberts contends that the statutory term “awarded compensation” means “awarded compensation in a formal order,” while SeaLand and the Director, OWCP, maintain that it means “statutorily entitled to compensation because of disability.” Although §906 can be interpreted either way, only Sea-Land and the Director’s interpretation makes §906 a working part of the statutory scheme. Under Roberts’ interpretation, no employee receiving voluntary payments has been “awarded compensation,” so none is subject to an identifiable maximum rate of compensation. That result is incompatible with the LHWCA’s design. Section 906(b)(1) caps compensation at twice the applicable national average weekly wage, as determined by the Secretary of Labor. Section 906(b)(3), in turn, directs the Secretary to determine that wage before each fiscal year begins, at which time it becomes the “applicable national average weekly wage” for the coming fiscal year. And §906(c), in its turn, provides that the Secretary’s determination shall apply to those “newly awarded compensation” during such fiscal year. Through a series of cross-references, the three provisions work together to cap disability benefits. By its terms, and subject to one express exception, §906(b)(1) specifies that the cap applies globally, to all disability claims. Because all three provisions interlock, the cap functions as Congress intended only if §906(c) also applies globally, to all such cases. Roberts’ interpretation would give §906(c) no application in the many cases in which no formal orders issue. Using the national average weekly wage for the fiscal year in which an employee becomes disabled coheres with the LHWCA’s administrative structure. An employer must be able to calculate the cap in order to pay benefits within 14 days of notice of an employee’s disability, see §914(b), and in order to certify to the Department of Labor whether the maximum rate is being paid. Similarly, an OWCP claims examiner must verify the compensation rate in light of the applicable cap. It is difficult to see how an employer or claims examiner can use a national average weekly wage other than the one in effect at the time an employee becomes disabled. Moreover, applying the national average weekly wage for the fiscal year in which an employee becomes disabled advances the LHWCA’s purpose to compensate disability, defined as “incapacity because of injury to earn the wages which the employee was receiving at the time of injury.” Cite as: 566 U. S. ____ (2012) 3 Syllabus §902(10). It also avoids disparate treatment of similarly situated employees; Roberts’ reading would permit two employees who earn the same salary and suffer the same injury on the same day to receive different maximum compensation rates based on the happenstance of their obtaining orders in different fiscal years. Finally, applying the national average weekly wage for the fiscal year in which disability commences discourages gamesmanship in the claims process. If the fiscal year in which an order issues were to determine the cap, the fact that the national average wage rises each year with inflation would be unduly significant. Roberts’ rule would reward employees who receive voluntary payments with windfalls for initiating unnecessary administrative proceedings to secure a higher rate, while simultaneously punishing employers who have complied fully with their statutory obligations to make voluntary payments. Pp. 5−13. (b) Roberts’ counterarguments are unconvincing. First, although the LHWCA sometimes uses “award” to mean “award in a formal order,” the presumption that identical words used in different parts of the same Act are intended to have the same meaning, readily yields whenever, as here, the variation in the word’s use in the LHWCA reasonably warrants the conclusion that it was employed in different parts of the Act with different intent. See General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. v. Cline, 540 U. S. 581, 595. Second, Roberts argues that, because this Court has refused to read the statutory phrase “person entitled to compensation” in §933(g) to mean “person awarded compensation,” Estate of Cowart v. Nicklos Drilling Co., 505 U. S. 469, 477, the converse must also be true: “awarded compensation” in §906(c) cannot mean “entitled to compensation.” But Cowart’s reasoning does not work in reverse. Cowart did not construe §906(c) or “award,” see id., at 478–479, and it did not hold that the groups of “employees entitled to compensation” and “employees awarded compensation” were mutually exclusive, see id., at 477. Finally, Roberts contends that his interpretation furthers the LHWCA’s purpose of providing employees with prompt compensation by encouraging employers to avoid delay and expedite administrative proceedings. But his remedy would also punish employers who voluntarily pay benefits at the proper rate from the time of their employees’ injuries, because they would owe benefits under the higher cap applicable in any future fiscal year when their employees chose to file claims. The more measured deterrent to employer delay is interest that accrues from the date an unpaid benefit came due. Pp. 13–

  (Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2011 1 Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as isbeing done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has beenprepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience … Continue reading

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES Although “laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas” are not patentable subject matter under §101 of the Patent Act, Diamond v. Diehr, 450 U. S. 175, 185, “an application of a law of nature . . . to a known structure or process may [deserve] patent protection,” id., at 187. But to transform an unpatentable law of nature into a patenteligible application of such a law, a patent must do more than simply state the law of nature while adding the words “apply it.” See, e.g., Gottschalk v. Benson, 409 U. S. 63, 71–72. It must limit its reach to a particular, inventive application of the law. Respondent, Prometheus Laboratories, Inc. (Prometheus), is the sole and exclusive licensee of the two patents at issue, which concern the use of thiopurine drugs to treat autoimmune diseases. When ingested, the body metabolizes the drugs, producing metabolites in the bloodstream. Because patients metabolize these drugs differently, doctors have found it difficult to determine whether a particular patient’s dose is too high, risking harmful side effects, or too low, and so likely ineffective. The patent claims here set forth processes embodying researchers’ findings that identify correlations between metabolite levels and likely harm or ineffectiveness with precision. Each claim recites (1) an “administering” step—instructing a doctor to administer the drug to his patient—(2) a “determining” step—telling the doctor to measure the resulting metabolite levels in the patient’s blood—and (3) a “wherein” step—describing the metabolite concentrations above which there is a likelihood of harmful side-effects and below which it is likely that the drug dosage is ineffective, and informing the doctor that metabolite concentrations above or below 2 MAYO COLLABORATIVE SERVICES v. PROMETHEUS LABORATORIES, INC. Syllabus these thresholds “indicate a need” to decrease or increase (respectively) the drug dosage. Petitioners Mayo Collaborative Services and Mayo Clinic Rochester (Mayo) bought and used diagnostic tests based on Prometheus’ patents. But in 2004 Mayo announced that it intended to sell and market its own, somewhat different, diagnostic test. Prometheus sued Mayo contending that Mayo’s test infringed its patents. The District Court found that the test infringed the patents but granted summary judgment to Mayo, reasoning that the processes claimed by the patents effectively claim natural laws or natural phenomena—namely, the correlations between thiopurine metabolite levels and the toxicity and efficacy of thiopurine drugs—and therefore are not patentable. The Federal Circuit reversed, finding the processes to be patent eligible under the Circuit’s “machine or transformation test.” On remand from this Court for reconsideration in light of Bilski v. Kappos, 561 U. S. ___, which clarified that the “machine or transformation test” is not a definitive test of patent eligibility, id., at ___–___, the Federal Circuit reaffirmed its earlier conclusion. Held: Prometheus’ process is not patent eligible. Pp. 8–24. (a) Because the laws of nature recited by Prometheus’ patent claims—the relationships between concentrations of certain metabolites in the blood and the likelihood that a thiopurine drug dosage will prove ineffective or cause harm—are not themselves patentable, the claimed processes are not patentable unless they have additional features that provide practical assurance that the processes are genuine applications of those laws rather than drafting efforts designed to monopolize the correlations. The three additional steps in the claimed processes here are not themselves natural laws but neither are they sufficient to transform the nature of the claims. The “administering” step simply identifies a group of people who will be interested in the correlations, namely, doctors who used thiopurine drugs to treat patients suffering from autoimmune disorders. Doctors had been using these drugs for this purpose long before these patents existed. And a “prohibition against patenting abstract ideas ‘cannot be circumvented by attempting to limit the use of the formula to a particular technological environment.’ ” Bilski, supra, at ___. The “wherein” clauses simply tell a doctor about the relevant natural laws, adding, at most, a suggestion that they should consider the test results when making their treatment decisions. The “determining” step tells a doctor to measure patients’ metabolite levels, through whatever process the doctor wishes to use. Because methods for making such determinations were well known in the art, this step simply tells doctors to engage in well-understood, routine, conventional activity previously engaged in by scientists in the field. Such Cite as: 566 U. S. ____ (2012) 3 Syllabus activity is normally not sufficient to transform an unpatentable law of nature into a patent-eligible application of such a law. Parker v. Flook, 437 U. S. 584, 590. Finally, considering the three steps as an ordered combination adds nothing to the laws of nature that is not already present when the steps are considered separately. Pp. 8–11. (b) A more detailed consideration of the controlling precedents reinforces this conclusion. Pp. 11–19. (1) Diehr and Flook, the cases most directly on point, both addressed processes using mathematical formulas that, like laws of nature, are not themselves patentable. In Diehr, the overall process was patent eligible because of the way the additional steps of the process integrated the equation into the process as a whole. 450 U. S., at 187. These additional steps transformed the process into an inventive application of the formula. But in Flook, the additional steps of the process did not limit the claim to a particular application, and the particular chemical processes at issue were all “well known,” to the point where, putting the formula to the side, there was no “inventive concept” in the claimed application of the formula. 437 U. S., at 594. Here, the claim presents a case for patentability that is weaker than Diehr’s patent-eligible claim and no stronger than Flook’s unpatentable one. The three steps add nothing specific to the laws of nature other than what is well-understood, routine, conventional activity, previously engaged in by those in the field. Pp. 11–13. (2) Further support for the view that simply appending conventional steps, specified at a high level of generality, to laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas cannot make those laws, phenomena, and ideas patentable is provided in O’Reilly v. Morse, 15 How. 62, 114–115; Neilson v. Harford, Webster’s Patent Cases 295, 371; Bilski, supra, at ___–___; and Benson, supra, at 64, 65, 67. Pp. 14–16. (3) This Court has repeatedly emphasized a concern that patent law not inhibit future discovery by improperly tying up the use of laws of nature and the like. See, e.g., Benson, 409 U. S., at 67, 68. Rewarding with patents those who discover laws of nature might encourage their discovery. But because those laws and principles are “the basic tools of scientific and technological work,” id., at 67, there is a danger that granting patents that tie up their use will inhibit future innovation, a danger that becomes acute when a patented process is no more than a general instruction to “apply the natural law,” or otherwise forecloses more future invention than the underlying discovery could reasonably justify. The patent claims at issue implicate this concern. In telling a doctor to measure metabolite levels and to consider the resulting measurements in light of the correlations they describe, they tie up his subsequent treatment decision re-4 MAYO COLLABORATIVE SERVICES v. PROMETHEUS LABORATORIES, INC. Syllabus gardless of whether he changes his dosage in the light of the inference he draws using the correlations. And they threaten to inhibit the development of more refined treatment recommendations that combine Prometheus’ correlations with later discoveries. This reinforces the conclusion that the processes at issue are not patent eligible, while eliminating any temptation to depart from case law precedent. Pp. 16–19. (c) Additional arguments supporting Prometheus’ position—that the process is patent eligible because it passes the “machine or transformation test”; that, because the particular laws of nature that the claims embody are narrow and specific, the patents should be upheld; that the Court should not invalidate these patents under §101 because the Patent Act’s other validity requirements will screen out overly broad patents; and that a principle of law denying patent coverage here will discourage investment in discoveries of new diagnostic laws of nature—do not lead to a different conclusion. Pp. 19

(Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2011 1 Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for … Continue reading

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES=The Government obtained a search warrant permitting it to install a Global-Positioning-System (GPS) tracking device on a vehicle registered to respondent Jones’s wife. The warrant authorized installation in the District of Columbia and within 10 days, but agents installed the device on the 11th day and in Maryland. The Government then tracked the vehicle’s movements for 28 days. It subsequentlysecured an indictment of Jones and others on drug trafficking conspiracy charges. The District Court suppressed the GPS data obtained while the vehicle was parked at Jones’s residence, but held the remaining data admissible because Jones had no reasonable expectation of privacy when the vehicle was on public streets. Jones was convicted. The D. C. Circuit reversed, concluding that admission of the evidence obtained by warrantless use of the GPS device violatedthe Fourth Amendment. Held: The Government’s attachment of the GPS device to the vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. Pp. 3–12. (a) The Fourth Amendment protects the “right of the people to besecure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Here, the Government’s physical intrusion on an “effect” for the purpose of obtaining information constitutes a “search.” This type of encroachment on an area enumeratedin the Amendment would have been considered a search within the meaning of the Amendment at the time it was adopted. Pp. 3–4. (b) This conclusion is consistent with this Court’s Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, which until the latter half of the 20th centurywas tied to common-law trespass. Later cases, which have deviated from that exclusively property-based approach, have applied the 2 UNITED STATES v. JONES Syllabus analysis of Justice Harlan’s concurrence in Katz v. United States, 389 U. S. 347, which said that the Fourth Amendment protects a person’s “reasonable expectation of privacy,” id., at 360. Here, the Court need not address the Government’s contention that Jones had no “reasonable expectation of privacy,” because Jones’s Fourth Amendment rights do not rise or fall with the Katz formulation. At bottom, the Court must “assur[e] preservation of that degree of privacy against government that existed when the Fourth Amendment was adopted.” Kyllo v. United States, 533 U. S. 27, 34. Katz did not repudiate theunderstanding that the Fourth Amendment embodies a particularconcern for government trespass upon the areas it enumerates. The Katz reasonable-expectation-of-privacy test has been added to, butnot substituted for, the common-law trespassory test. See Alderman v. United States, 394 U. S. 165, 176; Soldal v. Cook County, 506 U. S. 56, 64. United States v. Knotts, 460 U. S. 276, and United States v. Karo, 468 U. S. 705—post-Katz cases rejecting Fourth Amendment challenges to “beepers,” electronic tracking devices representing another form of electronic monitoring—do not foreclose the conclusion that a search occurred here. New York v. Class, 475 U. S. 106, and Oliver v. United States, 466 U. S. 170, also do not support the Government’s position. Pp. 4–12. (c) The Government’s alternative argument—that if the attachment and use of the device was a search, it was a reasonable one—is forfeited because it was not raised below. P. 12. 615 F. 3d 544, affirmed. SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined. SOTOMAYOR, J., filed a concurring opinion. ALITO, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which GINSBURG, BREYER, and KAGAN, JJ., joined

1 SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES Syllabus UNITED STATES v. JONES CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT No. 10–1259. Argued November 8, 2011—Decided January 23, 2012 The Government obtained a search warrant permitting it to install a Global-Positioning-System (GPS) tracking device on a vehicle registered to … Continue reading

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES=The complaint allegesthat the officers violated the Huffs’ Fourth Amendment rights by entering their home without a warrant=we have instructed that reasonableness “must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on thescene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight” and that “[t]he calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments—in circumstances that aretense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving.” Graham v. Connor, 490 U. S. 386, 396–397 (1989). Judged from theproper perspective of a reasonable officer forced to make asplit-second decision in response to a rapidly unfoldingchain of events that culminated with Mrs. Huff turning and running into the house after refusing to answer a question about guns, petitioners’ belief that entry was necessary to avoid injury to themselves or others was im- minently reasonable. In sum, reasonable police officers in petitioners’ positioncould have come to the conclusion that the Fourth Amendment permitted them to enter the Huff residence if Cite as: 565 U. S. ____ (2012) 9 Per Curiam there was an objectively reasonable basis for fearing thatviolence was imminent. And a reasonable officer could have come to such a conclusion based on the facts as found by the District Court. The petition for certiorari is granted, the judgment ofthe Ninth Circuit is reversed, and the case is remanded for the entry of judgment in favor of petitioners. It is so ordered.

Cite as: 565 U. S. ____ (2012) 1 Per Curiam SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES DARIN RYBURN, ET AL. v. GEORGE R. HUFF, ET AL. ON PETITION FOR WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT No. 11–208. Decided January 23, 2012 PER CURIAM. Petitioners Darin Ryburn and … Continue reading

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES Syllabus COMPUCREDIT CORP. ET AL. v. GREENWOOD ET AL. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT No. 10–948. Argued October 11, 2011—Decided January 10, 2012 Although respondents’ credit card agreement required their claims tobe resolved by binding arbitration, they filed a lawsuit against petitioner CompuCredit Corporation and a division of petitioner bank, alleging, inter alia, violations of the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA). The Federal District Court denied the defendants’ motion to compel arbitration, concluding that Congress intended CROA claims to be nonarbitrable. The Ninth Circuit affirmed. Held: Because the CROA is silent on whether claims under the Act can proceed in an arbitrable forum, the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires the arbitration agreement to be enforced according to its terms. Pp. 2–10. (a) Section 2 of the FAA establishes “a liberal federal policy favoring arbitration.” Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital v. Mercury Constr. Corp., 460 U. S. 1, 24. It requires that courts enforce arbitrationagreements according to their terms. See Dean Witter Reynolds Inc. v. Byrd, 470 U. S. 213, 221. That is the case even when federal statutory claims are at issue, unless the FAA’s mandate has been “overridden by a contrary congressional command.” Shearson/American Express Inc. v. McMahon, 482 U. S. 220, 226. Pp. 2–3. (b) The CROA provides no such command. Respondents contend that the CROA’s disclosure provision—which requires credit repair organizations to provide consumers with a statement that includes the sentence “ ‘You have a right to sue a credit repair organization that violates the [Act],’ ” 15 U. S. C. §1679c(a)—gives consumers theright to bring an action in a court of law; and that, because the CROAprohibits the waiver of “any right of the consumer under this subchapter,” §1679f(a), the arbitration agreement’s waiver of the “right”to bring a court action cannot be enforced. Respondents’ premise is 2 COMPUCREDIT CORP. v. GREENWOOD Syllabus flawed. The disclosure provision creates only a right for consumers toreceive a specific statement describing the consumer protections that the law elsewhere provides, one of which is the right to enforce acredit repair organization’s “liab[ility]” for “fail[ure] to comply with[the Act].” §1679g(a). That provision does not override the FAA’s mandate. Its mere contemplation of judicial enforcement does not demonstrate that the Act provides consumers with a “right” to initialjudicial enforcement. Pp. 3–8. (c) At the time of the CROA’s enactment in 1996, arbitration clauses such as the one at issue were no rarity in consumer contracts generally, or in financial services contracts in particular. Had Congressmeant to prohibit these very common provisions in the CROA, itwould have done so in a manner less obtuse than what respondents suggest. Pp. 8–9. 615 F. 3d 1204, reversed and remanded. SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, BREYER, and ALITO, JJ., joined. SO-TOMAYOR, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which KA-GAN, J., joined. GINSBURG, J., filed a dissenting opinion.

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES No. 10–948 COMPUCREDIT CORPORATION, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. WANDA GREENWOOD ET AL. ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT [January 10, 2012] JUSTICE SCALIA delivered the opinion of the Court. We consider whether the Credit Repair OrganizationsAct (CROA), 15 U. S. … Continue reading

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES=Doctors initially attributed Etzel’s death to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the customary diagnosis when an infant shows no outward signs of trauma. But after an autopsy, the coroner concluded that the cause of death was instead shaken baby syndrome (SBS).=The opinion of the Court in Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U. S. 307 (1979), makes clear that it is the responsibility of the jury—not the court—to decide what conclusions should be drawn from evidence admitted at trial. A reviewing court may set aside the jury’s verdict on the ground of insufficient evidence only if no rational trier of fact could have agreed with the jury. What is more, a federal court may not overturn a state court decision rejecting a sufficiency of the evidence challenge simply because the federal court disagrees with the state court. The federal court instead may do so only if the state court decision was “objectively unreasonable.” Renico v. Lett, 559 U. S. ___, ___ (2010) (slip op., at 5) (internal quotation marks omitted). Because rational people can sometimes disagree, the inevitable consequence of this settled law is that judges will sometimes encounter convictions that they believe to be mistaken, but that they must nonetheless uphold. The Court of Appeals in this case substituted its judgment for that of a California jury on the question whether the prosecution’s or the defense’s expert witnesses more persuasively explained the cause of a death. For this reason, certiorari is granted and the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed. *


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