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Anyone in the synthetic biology community is welcome to attend.

Wednesday September 26, 2007 at 12:00pm EST

32-D463, MIT

Topic of discussion

Paul Oldham from Lancaster University - Synthetic Biology: Interrogating the Patent Landscape

  • European Patent Office - Scenarios for the Future - download the pdf
  • International patent classification scheme (there is also a U.S. patent classification scheme) - this can help in searching the patent literature
  • There is no classification code for genomics, proteomics, or synthetic biology.
  • The Thomson Corporation are the main player in the commercial software for full-text patent searching.
  • Google is doing a pretty good job of enabling search of the U.S. patent database. But they haven't yet released anything for European patents. -TK
  • Searches of the patent literature requires a lot of cleaning. "Synthetic cell" can yield results on underwear for example.
  • Thomson's Micropatent Aureka Gold service allows construction of "patent landscapes". It clusters based of frequency of appearance of a set of stock terms.
  • What are the terms that define synthetic biology?
  • Patent citation searching; Top cited patents are cited heavily because either the invention is very novel or because the claims are very broad. This might be a useful way of searching the patent literature.
  • Some companies have enormous numbers of patents - they can drown out companies with small numbers of patents that may be of interest.
  • Patents are a trailing indicator ... they tend to come 3 years later. What are the leading indicators - information on the web or publications? Perhaps patent applications?
  1. How do I find patents I care about? - Jason
    • getting the right set of search terms is really hard ... pretty easy to go too narrow or too broad
  2. Institute a broad search, then send those to a committee that decides whether that patent is synthetic biology or not (distributed network of folks) and classifies it. - TK
  3. Then you have to decide how to respond to overly broad patents. - Ken
  4. Then patent trolls have incentive to avoid getting flagged in the search process. - Ken
    • You can partially find these folks by looking at conference attendee lists etc.
  5. What would patent trolls go after?
  • Just because a patent exists, doesn't mean that it is valid or enforceable.
  • It would be nice to search patented protein and DNA sequences. - Melina
  • All patented sequences are in Genbank but there may not be a way to limit your search to patented sequences. - TK

Future events

Nuts and bolts of patent searching

  • Friday 11-1pm
  • E38 - 2nd floor conference room (above the MIT bookstore)
  • aca AT mit DOT edu

Monday at 4pm at Science Center at Harvard

  • A second round table discussion