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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  

Melanie J. Howlett

Melbourne Law School

Andrew F. Christie

Melbourne Law School

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

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

Howlett, Melanie J. and Christie, Andrew F., An Analysis of the Approach of the European, Japanese and United States Patent Offices to Patenting Partial DNA Sequences (ESTs) (2004). International Review of Industrial Property and Copyright, Vol. 34, pp. 581-602, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=573184

Melanie J. Howlett

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

Andrew F. Christie (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University of Melbourne
Melbourne, Victoria 3010
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.andrewchristie.com

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