Patents to DNA and RNA technology are often granted in the following areas: genomics, genetic engineering, gene delivery, DNA vaccines, RNA vaccines, PCR methods, sequencing methods and nucleic acid manipulations including gene editing such as CRISPR.
In particular, the following are patentable in most countries: gene sequences, antisense oligonucleotides, PCR primers and DNA vectors including viral vectors. The DNA and RNA molecules do not always have to be defined by their specific sequences. If the inventive concept of the invention is not limited to a specific sequence, then broader patent claims (not limited to nucleotide sequences) can often be obtained.
Examples of claims to DNA sequences include the following:
- An isolated nucleic acid molecule having a sequence identity of at least 90% with SEQ ID NO: 1 and which encodes a melanocortin receptor.
- An isolated nucleic acid molecule which codes for a polypeptide of SEQ ID NO: 2.
Claim 1 above covers not only a DNA or RNA sequence of SEQ ID NO: 1, but also variants of that sequence which encode the specified receptor. (It is necessary to include a functional definition of the nucleic acid molecule (e.g. “which encodes a melanocortin receptor”) in order to exclude molecules which are non-functional.)
Patenting polypeptides and peptides
In this area of technology, patents are often granted in the following fields: proteomics, proteins, polypeptides and peptides, recombinant protein expression systems, synthetic proteins, chimeric proteins, industrial enzymes, blood products, glycobiology, biomaterials, protein purification and peptide therapeutics.
The patenting of antibodies and biosimilars and biobetters are also particularly important. [and insert hyperlinks to the other pages on these]
In patent applications which claim protein sequences, the Patent Offices will generally compare the sequence of the claimed protein against previously-known ones, and then assess whether the claimed sequence is both novel and inventive over the previously-known sequences.
Examples of claims to polypeptide and peptide sequences include the following:
3. A purified polypeptide comprising an amino acid sequence having at least 95% sequence identity with SEQ ID NO: 2 and which binds FSH with a Ki of less than 10 nM.
4. A peptide of formula X1-X2-A-G-C-X3-L-V-F-X4, wherein X1 is acetyl or is absent; X2 is L or I; X3 is F or W; and X4 is amide or is absent.