The nine justices ruled unanimously in the case. The biotechnology industry had warned that an expansive ruling against Myriad could threaten billions of dollars of investment.
The court said synthetically produced genetic material can be patented but that genes extracted from the human body, known as isolated DNA, do not merit the same legal protections.
The compromise outcome, which was urged by the Obama administration, will have less impact on Myriad. The Myriad patents in dispute will all expire by 2015.
Myriad's shares jumped more than 8 percent to $36.83 after the ruling was issued.