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J Struct Funct Genomics. 2003;4(2-3):191-209.

Patent protection for structural genomics-related inventions.

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Quarles & Brady, LLP, One South Pinckney Street, Suite 600, Madison, WI 53703, USA.


Recently there have been some important developments with respect to the patentability of inventions in the field of structural genomics. The leaders of the European Patent Office (EPO), Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the United States Patent Office (USPTO) came together for a trilateral meeting to conduct a comparative study on protein 3-dimensional (3-D) structure related claims in an effort to come to a mutual understanding about the examination of such inventions. The three patent offices were presented with eight different cases: 1) 3-D structural data of a protein per se; 2) computer-readable storage medium encoded with structural data of a protein; 3) protein defined by its tertiary structure; 4) crystals of known proteins; 5) binding pockets and protein domains; 6) and 7) are both directed to in silico screening methods directed to a specific protein; and 8) pharmacophores. The preliminary conclusions reached at the trilateral meeting provide clarity regarding the types of inventions that may be patentable given a specific set of scientific facts in a patent application. Therefore, the guidance provided by this study will help inventors, attorneys and other patent practitioners who file for patent protection on structural genomics-based inventions both here and abroad comply with the patentability requirements of each office.

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