As more and more researchers and IP specialists sign up to use LifeQuest (full-text life science patent search tool), we have been receiving an increasing amount of positive feedback. This made us all feel so good that to say thanks, our team was inspired to create the LifeQuest Search Bar, a free tool that lets even more people try out the LifeQuest search engine, complete with our powerful query builder.
We are very happy to extend a warm welcome to Stephen Adams, our guest blogger. Stephen is the Managing Director at Magister Ltd., an independent consultancy which provides a range of services to the scientific and technical information community, concentrating in the field of patents documentation. For more on Stephen, please see below.
The national referendum in the United Kingdom on continued membership of the European Union (EU) was held on 23rd June 2016, and resulted in a narrow majority (52%-48%) in favour of leaving the Union. Until the formal procedure of negotiating the terms of withdrawal is concluded, the UK remains within the EU; the actual withdrawal date is likely to be some years ahead. Any effects in the field of intellectual property will depend entirely upon whether the UK has existing domestic legislation in place, or has been reliant upon EU-made law for any aspects of IP within its territory. We can break the subject into three sections, and review each in turn.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: there’s a reason why we are the market leader in patent sequence search. It has surprisingly little to do with our user-friendly search interface, our stellar customer support, or our good looks. While (at least some of) these things certainly help, it is the content that can only be found in our GQ-Pat database of patent sequences that makes the real difference. Think all patent sequence databases are the same? Let me explain what I mean in some more detail.
When, for example, a life science patent application is filed at the USPTO they ask that the inventor put all sequences into a nicely formatted list. This so-called “ST.25 listing” helps the examiners with their workflow and makes it straightforward to collect all sequences submitted to the office over time. In an ideal world, every inventor and every patent office would list sequences like this and that would be the end of it.
After 15 years in this field and writing about this many times, I’m still shocked when I see professional IP people that use BLAST for their sequence searches. BLAST is a crude and unreliable way to align sequences, and under normal circumstances it shouldn’t be used for anything patent related. There, I said it.
Sequences play such a central role in the business models of many life science companies. Therefore I just don’t get that people spend good money on a commercial database like STN, GeneSeq, or SequenceBase and are still stuck with BLAST, or something similarly flawed such as Smith & Waterman or FASTA, as their only real search option. So why is BLAST is such a problem in patent searching? It comes down to two major issues.
We are again excited to welcome thought leader Dr. Stephen Tedeschi as a guest blogger. Dr. Tedeschi, is a Partner at PatentVantage, a leading patent research and strategy firm. He is also an Adjunct Faculty member at the National Institute of Health’s Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES). For more on Dr. Tedeschi, please see below.
Please be sure to check out Part 1 of this blog series.
Why Searching Patents for Non-Text Information is Crucial
Mechanical, chemical, and life sciences patents in particular, pose their own challenges to searching. In all of these technologies, inventions can be described in ways that are not searchable through text-based interfaces. For example, these technologies may be disclosed as images, Markush structures, or Gene sequences. None of this information is effectively text searchable, if at all. The ability to search them is created by database providers through the addition of indexing and other value added cross-referencing. This type of manual curation takes time and often means paying to access the curated data, but effective searching is nearly impossible without it.
We are excited to welcome thought leader Dr. Stephen Tedeschi as a guest blogger. Dr. Tedeschi, is a Partner at PatentVantage, a leading patent research and strategy firm. He is also an Adjunct Faculty member at the National Institute of Health’s Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES). For more on Dr. Tedeschi, please see below.
In every stage of innovation, knowledge of current and previous research is critical to developing a clear direction to progress forward. From inception, to basic research, to development, to sales, to product protection, reviewing both patent and technical literature published globally will greatly influence your ability to make technical, legal, and business decisions. It is particularly important at the beginning of the innovation lifecycle, when scientists and engineers are planning a research project. Missing critical prior research can result in repeating others’ research, including unsuccessful projects, not knowing solutions to common challenges already encountered, and losing ownership of any products or licenses resulting from the research already patented. All too often, I’ve seen scenarios where the missing information was readily available in a patent. Here are just a few examples.
When you work with DNA or protein sequences, inevitably, you’re going to run into the challenge of finding similar biological sequences that have been listed in patents. In most cases, you’re likely to know specific mutations at specific positions that you want to search for. The challenge is, how do you define a query that delivers a manageable set of results?
Where does your team find inspiration for new ideas, projects, and opportunities? Journals, publications, conferences, and other research are common answers, but if that’s where your sources end, you’re missing one incredibly productive source – patents.
After the United States Supreme Court ruling in the Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics in June of 2013, the industry scurried. The Court ruled that naturally occurring DNA is not patent eligible even if isolated, but cDNA or “complementary DNA” is because it is not naturally occurring but rather a product of the laboratory scientist even though it is exactly the same nucleic acid information.
We welcome back guest blogger and thought leader Professor Chris Holman at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School for a new two part series. Professor Holman authors the well-known Holman’s Biotech IP Blog and is the executive editor of Biotechnology Law Report.