Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 16,600+ case briefs...

Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings v. Metabolite Laboratories, Inc.

United States Supreme Court
548 U.S. 124 (2006)


In the 1980s, three university doctors discovered that some individuals with high levels of the amino acid homocysteine also had deficiencies of folic acid and vitamin B12. The doctors obtained a patent for the correlative process which was eventually licensed to Metabolite Laboratories, Inc. (“Metabolite”) (plaintiff). In 1991, Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (“LabCorp”) (defendant) obtained a license from Metabolite, allowing the company to use the process described in the patent in exchange for a percentage of revenues. Under the terms of the agreement, LabCorp could terminate its agreement with Metabolite if “a more cost effective commercial alternative” to determine the homocysteine-vitamin deficiency correlation arose. Subsequently, other companies successfully developed a correlative process similar to the one invented by the doctors, including one method created by Abbott Laboratories. Metabolite brought suit against LabCorp for breach of the license agreement and patent infringement, claiming that the patent claims protected any “correlating” test ordered by a doctor to determine whether there was an elevated level of homocysteine and a resulting vitamin deficiency in an individual. The U.S. District Court found LabCorp liable for patent infringement, assessed damages, and enjoined it from performing “any homocysteine-only test, including without limitation homocysteine-only tests via the Abbott method.” LabCorp appealed and the court of appeals affirmed. LabCorp filed a petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court which was granted. The Supreme Court then dismissed the action as improvidently granted and Justice Stephen Breyer dissented in the dismissal.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Breyer, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 427,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 16,600 briefs, keyed to 223 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial