Technology Landscapes

Adjuvant Patent Landscape

Adjuvants have been used since the early 20th Century to enhance an immune response to an antigen. The need for adjuvants as a component of vaccines is still acute, especially as newer antigens may be weak immunogens or have limited availability. Developing new adjuvants has great monetary value as well, as illustrated by acquisition of companies with adjuvant products. Regulatory approval of adjuvants however has been almost non-existent; no new adjuvant has been approved in the United States since the 1930s and only recently has the European regulatory agency approved three vaccines with a new adjuvant.

Human Genome Landscape

A landmark paper published 14 October 2005 by Dr Kyle Jensen and Dr Fiona Murray matched DNA sequences in granted US patents to the Genbank database refseq_rna, then mapped those hits against the fully sequenced human genome to show that the use of a large proportion of the sequence, much of which was obtained at public expense, may not be in the public domain. US patents on human genome sequence, giving the right to exclude use in the US or in implementations that will be imported into the US, are largely owned by private companies, or by public sector institutions that often exclusively license the rights to private companies.

Gateway® Technology Landscape

The focus of this technology landscape is the intellectual property rights that surround Gateway® Technology, used for molecular cloning by research groups throughout the world because it provided significant improvements in time and expense compared to older technologies. Its popularity and widespread use means that understanding the intellectual property encumbrances involved is crucial to anyone contemplating commercialisation or wide public distribution of any product made using the technology.

Analysis of “Junk DNA” Patents

Analysis of “Junk DNA” Patents: “Intron Sequence Analysis Method for Detection of Adjacent and Remote Locus Alleles as Haplotypes”. Authored by Carol Nottenburg (PhD, JD) and Jade Sharples (PhD), originally published July 2004. CAMBIA staff including Marie Connett Porceddu (PhD) have done some updating since. Technology landscapes, by their very nature, become outdated. CAMBIA welcomes updates and inputs by others through the comments interface available on every page of this version of the technology landscape.

Human Telomerase Gene

CAMBIA owns patents on splice variants of transcripts of the gene encoding human telomerase, important in regeneration of chromosomes during successive cell divisions. There is much interest in exploiting this gene for cancer diagnostics, stem cell uses, anti-aging research etc.


A negative-stained transmission electron micrograph (TEM) depicting the ultrastructural details of an influenza virus particle. Photo courtesy of the CDC. The possibility of pandemic influenza arising from the avian influenza virus, H5N1, is of critical importance for global public health. The need to safeguard the health of the poor and to provide fair access to needed medicines, diagnostics, and vaccines has put patent systems at the heart of the debate. How do patents impact development and commercialization of products targeted against major world diseases? Does the use of patents as a part of strategy to inventivize commercial development adversely and disproportionately affect some nations and populations? Do internationally shared public health goals – such as addressing pandemic influenza – require different treatment of patents than public health challenges that are regional in nature? Virtually all of the discussion of this topic occurs in the absence of a clear and transparent body of evidence.

Positive Selection

This landscape covers use of a gene for selection that converts a neutral or toxic compound to a growth-promoting molecule. See also technical information for one mechanism that can be improved cooperatively.

Antibiotic Resistance Genes

The production of transgenic organisms usually involves the delivery of a construct containing DNA of interest accompanied by a selectable marker gene, often an antibiotic resistance gene. This enables the selective destruction of cells not containing the introduced DNA. Selection is thought to be necessary for delivery techniques in which only a minor fraction of the treated cells become transgenic.

Resistance to Phosphinothricin

Phosphinothricin (also known as glufosinate, sold under trade names BASTA, Buster and Liberty) is a broad spectrum herbicide. In transgenic plants resistance to this herbicide is conferred the insertion into crop plants of the bar gene, isolated from bacteria. The patent ownership and licensing and the biochemical mechanism of this resistance are discussed in this paper.

Bioindicator Systems

Roses in a vineyard allow the grower to have advance notice of disease so that (s)he can decide on preventative measures. This landscape describes biotechnological uses of the same concept for warning of land mines, nutrient conditions, diseases etc.

Promoters Used to Regulate Gene Expression

Regulatory elements are crucial to gene expression. This paper discusses the patent landscape of some widely used transcriptional regulators that are constitutively active, spatially active (e.g. tissue-specific or tissue-preferred), and temporally active (e.g. induced or active in response to a certain chemical or physical stimulus) in plants.

Arabidopsis Genome

This landscape deals with the Intellectual property and IP issues surrounding the genome of Arabidopsis thaliana. The landscape is intended to provide insights into the deliverability of innovations in the plant sciences for the public good. To this end the landscape investigates patenting activity directed towards the nucleotide and gene sequences from Arabidopsis– with a particular focus on patent applications involving large groups of DNA sequences. The results of the analysis will be of interest to those involved in public sector research and innovation who are unaware of the ways in which the fruits of public-funded research can be sequestered by private for-profit organisations.


Many methods and techniques can be used to transfer genes into cells. In agricultural plant biotechnology, the most widely utilized technique is Agrobacterium-mediated transfer, which is heavily patented. Use of patented technologies can restrict the deliverability of products.

Rice Genome Landscape

This landscape is a work in progress and is designed to provide an overview of the policies involved with the patenting of the rice genome. We also provide an analysis of the genes and proteins that are claimed in United States patents and patent applications that have significant homology to the fully-sequenced rice genome.

IP Search

This report was developed in a consultancy for IP Australia, but has been expanded to make it relevant for all jurisdictions. It provides an informed view of current and future directions in IP related information search and retrieval. It is particularly relevant for IP professionals in Australia, but also holds useful observations and applications for IP professionals around the world. We analyse the technical trends in search and character recognition software and how these interact with the needs of innovators. Innovation is better enabled if the information that government patent offices provide is clear and readily searchable. Fee-charging patent search services may not provide the best information.