Diamond v. Chakrabarty
In Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303 (1980), the U.S. Supreme Court extended patent protection to new forms of life. The Court relied on the legislative history, noting that the drafters of 35 U.S.C. § 101 intended "to 'include anything under the sun that is made by man.'" Id. at 309 (quoting S. REP. NO. 1979, 82d Cong., 2d Sess. 5 (1952); and H.R. REP. NO. 1923, 82d Cong., 2d Sess. 6 (1952)).
Patents are granted today for genetic material, though the ACLU challenged this practice with a lawsuit in 2009.