IPformatics: An Integrated Knowledgebase of Patent Claims and Genomic Data

Period of Performance: 04/01/2006 - 09/30/2007


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Biospherex, LLC
Manassas, VA 20110
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This is a proposal to create a knowledgebase of the intellectual property rights that exist in human genes. When completed, the knowledgebase will have three distinct elements: (1) a searchable sequence component that contains nucleotide and amino sequences listed in U.S. Patents; (2) a gene patent component that links each human gene with the U.S. patents which claim it; and (3) a claim annotation component that contains information about the claim and the subject matter it covers. An aim of the knowledgebase is to simplify gene patent searching and analysis. Amino acid and nucleotide searching will not be required to identify which genes are covered by U.S. patents. Instead, gene names and accession numbers will be directly linked to patented sequences, enabling instant access to patent information. At a glance, users will be able to determine which genes are covered by patents, and the extent to which the human genome is owned. A second aim is provide information about whether a gene is "claimed" in a patent. Only when a gene is claimed does the patent owner possess the right to exclude others from using it. The knowledgebase will identify the patents which confer rights in the gene, rather than those which only disclose it. Finally, a long-term aim is annotate and classify patent claims, enabling users to understand the nature of the patent rights. Patent claims can extend to a gene as a composition of matter, but can also be restricted to the use of the gene. Within each class, there are varying scopes of coverage. To manually classify claims would be a gargantuan task since there are over 56,000 U.S. patents which relate to nucleic acids. Text- mining algorithms will be devised that will automatically parse and classify gene patent claims. The information provided in the knowledgebase will be a tool to understand the impact of patents on the provision of healthcare. Opponents of gene patents have argued that patents restrict access, drive up healthcare costs, and put private property interests ahead of societal concerns. The knowledgebase will provide a way to readily identify the patent protection on human biologies and underlying technologies, and then to monitor how the various classes of patent protection effect pricing, competition, and other economic indicators. It will also have commercial value to the biotechnology industry as a resource to readily determine the patent rights that exist in human genes when developing new products and research initiatives.