Other Patents

Patents claiming other sequences from Arabidopsis thaliana

The following are some other examples of granted patents for Arabidopsis sequences. Note that there are many more granted patents for Arabidopsis,  far more than we can analyse at present.  We invite interested readers to suggest patented genes and sequences (or a particular area of interest) for further analysis.

The following is an example of a granted patent for an Arabidopsis transcription factor from Korea Kumho Petrochemical Co. This was chosen as a comparison to those granted transcription factor patents from Mendel Biotechnology:

Patent or Publication No. Title, Independent Claims and Summary Applicant
US 5981729

  • Earliest priority – 27 Aug 1998
  • Filed – 27 Aug 1998
  • Granted – 9 Nov 1999
  • Expected expiry – 27 Aug 2018
Title – Transcription factor gene induced by water deficit and abscisic acid isolated from Arabidopsis thaliana

Claim 1

An isolated nucleic acid molecule encoding the transcription factor Athb-12.

The claims are generally drawn to:

  • An isolated nucleic acid molecule encoding the transcription factor Athb-12.

The scope of this claim is limited to the nucleic acid for Athb-12.  The scope of claims are not defined according to similarity or hybridisation language.  No claims are specifically made towards organisms transformed with this sequence or to methods to produce them.  It might be argued that the the doctrine of equivalents allows a wider scope to similar sequences.
possible work around here is to use the same transcription factor from a different organism (as long as it too is not too closely related to Athb-12 above).

Original Applicant:


Korea Kumho Petrochemical Co. Ltd., Seoul, Korea.

Remarks Note that this granted patent is an earlier patent than those of Mendel’s.  It is uncertain whether the limited scope of the claims reflects prior existing art (unlikely for such an early application?) or merely reflects early attempts to patent gene sequences.
This patent is not a member of a large INPADOC family, and arose from a single US application made by a Korean petrochemical company.