An Analysis of the Approach of the European, Japanese and United States Patent Offices to Patenting Partial DNA Sequences (Ests)
26 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2004
Date Written: 2004
Rapid developments in biotechnology are challenging the boundary of patent law. The scientific community, national and international organisations are concerned about the patenting of partial DNA sequences (also called expressed sequence tags (ESTs)) and the need to ensure a fair allocation of intellectual property rights. This paper provides a detailed analysis of the examination practices of the European, Japanese and United States Patent Offices in relation to patenting ESTs. This analysis illustrates that the practice of the patent offices is such that the requirements for patentability of ESTs is stringent. The main concerns, that (i) offices would grant patents for ESTs with no useful function, and that (ii) patents would be granted for cDNA sequences that comprise the sequence of an EST and thus are so broad as to include the subsequently discovered corresponding gene, appear unfounded.
Keywords: intellectual property, patent, DNA, partial DNA sequences, ESTS, United States, Europe, Japan, Patent Office
JEL Classification: K1, K11, K19, K3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
European Opposition to Exclusive Control Over Predictive Breast Cancer Testing and the Inherent Implications for United States Patent Law and Public Policy: A Case Study of the Myriad Genetics' Brca Patent Controversy