Patenting Genes and their Products


The process of patenting allows companies and individuals to protect their investments. In the biotechnology industry however the act of patenting raises many ethical and technological issues.

Keywords: patent; invention; process claims; composition of matter; utility; biotechnology; tool patents; circumvention

Figure 1.

To avoid linking a bacterial promoter to a foreign gene on a plasmid, the promoter and gene are cloned separately, then combined in vitro to form a DNA circle. The circle is integrated into the bacterial chromosome using lambda integrase, and the resulting integrant is plated on tetracycline media to select for tandem duplications of the gene of interest. LB, L‐broth agar; CTD, chromosomal transfer DNA. Reproduced from Mascarenhas D (1998) Nature Biotechnology16: 1371–1372.


Further Reading

Mascarenhas D (1998) Negotiating the maze of biotech ‘tool patents’. Nature Biotechnology 16: 1371–1372.

Epstein MA (1998) Fundamentals of intellectual property. In: Epstein MA and Politano FL (eds) Drafting License Agreements, 3rd edn, pp. 5–83. Aspen: Aspen Law & Business Press

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How to Cite close
Buffinger, Nick, and Mascarenhas, Desmond M(May 2003) Patenting Genes and their Products. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000986]