Can facts be patented?

(via The Consumerist)
I did not know this.  Apparently Metabolite has a patent on the fact “The level of an amino acid called homocysteine is measured in a patient’s blood or urine and, if elevated, it can be correlated with a deficiency of folic acid, or B12.”  And there is a lawsuit against the company Laboratory Testing Company for violating this patent.  Also, supposedly I’ve broken the law by quoting that fact.
The Supreme Court has to decide the following question:

if a doctor looks at a patient’s test results and even thinks that sentence, has he broken the law?

I don’t have much faith in our courts to make a good decision here, but we’ll see.

[tags]Patents, Metabolite[/tags]