Arabidopsis is an extremely important model system used to study many aspects of plant biology. From the graphs and figures presented in this chapter, it is obvious that there are a great many references to Arabidopsis in the scientific literature and in patent documents. These observations are consistent with the importance of Arabidopsis as a model organism for the study of plant biology. The interesting aspect of the appearance of “Arabidopsis” in the patent literature is the fact that Arabidopsis is NOT a commercial crop. Compared to important crops such as canola, soybean, and potato there would appear to be little value in patents directed towards Arabidopsis.
While the term “Arabidopsis” appears frequently in patent documents, it is the contents of the “claims” section of these documents that is most important. Since the focus of this landscape is towards the Arabidopsis genome, it is of interest to understand to what extent these claims are directed towards sequences and genes from Arabidopsis. Also of interest is an applicant’s reasons for claiming sequences from an organism with little commercial value. In the following chapters we will analyse example patent applications and granted patents more closely to answer some of these questions.
Since patents containing claims to Arabidopsis sequences are the focus of this landscape, much of the analysis in the following chapters will involve patent documents making claims to large groups of genes and sequences from Arabidopsis. These patent documents will be described here as “bulk sequence” applications. For the sake of convenience and clarity, we will define “Bulk Sequence” applications as those that claim protection for 100-or-more Arabidopsis sequences. It is these patent documents that form the core of the following patent analysis.