US 7135616 and other issued patents claiming “polynucleotides and polypeptides from plants”

The following are US patents that have issued from the above-described Mendel patent applications on “Polynucleotides and Polypeptides from Plants”. Mendel, and probably its research ally Monsanto, has the right to exclude anyone from using technology covered by the claims below in the US or in products to be imported into the US. Note that while the claims are narrower than those in the corresponding patent application, this is no cause for feeling relieved about how many research avenues they leave open for development into deliverable products.

For example, in the patent 6,717,034 shown below, the scope of the claims is towards transgenic plants having increased biomass (compared to a control), and the methods involved in producing them.  The scope is further limited with respect to the sequence used to obtain this phenotype.  Specifically the DNA sequence in SEQ ID 1 is used, along with the peptide sequence in SEQ ID 2, to define the scope in plants. Claims include DNA sequences (and complementary sequences) that code for SEQ ID NO: 2 (including SEQ ID NO 1), and sequences that “bind under stringent conditions” to SEQ ID 1 (and complementary sequences). Such claim language opens the possibility of using other transcription factors that might result in similar useful phenotypes (e.g. would the equivalent transcription factor from another dicot, that codes for a peptide sequence other than SEQ ID NO 2, and is sufficiently different to SEQ ID NO 1, be a possible work-around for this patent?)  However, before making such a conclusion it would be important to examine the prosecution history, i.e. the interactions between the patent office and the applicant, about how the doctrine of equivalents would need to be taken into account).

Also, this patent is one of a large INPADOC family, and broader claims to the same sequences, as well as to all the other sequences in the application, could still be pending.  This means that at any time patents with broader claims could still issue from any of the over 100 patent applications that are still pending.

Patent or Publication No. Title, Independent Claims and Summary Applicant
US 6717034

  • Earliest priority – 30 Mar 2001
  • Filed – 30 Mar 2001
  • Granted – 6 Apr 2004
  • Expected expiry – 30 Mar 2021
Title – Method for modifying plant biomass

Claim 1
A transgenic plant comprising
a recombinant polynucleotide comprising:
(a) a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO: 2, or a sequence that is fully complementary to the nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO; 2; or
(b) a nucleotide sequence comprising SEQ ID NO: 1, or a sequence that is fully complementary to the nucleotide sequencecomprising SEQ ID NO: 1;wherein expression of the recombinant polynucleotide comprising either (a) or (b) increases the plant’s biomass as compared to a control plant not transformed with said recombinant polynucleotide.
Claim 3A transgenic plant comprising
a recombinant polynucleotide comprising
a polynucleotide sequence that hybridizes over its full length under stringent conditions to:
(a) a nucleotide sequence comprising SEQ ID NO: 1, or a sequence that is fully complementary to the nucleotide sequence comprising SEQ ID NO: 1; or
(b) a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO: 2, or a sequence that is fully complementary to the nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO: 2;wherein the stringent conditions comprise wash conditions of 0.2×SSC to 2.0×SSC, 0.1% SDS at 60-65° C. and
wherein expression of the polynucleotide sequence that hybridizes to either (a) or (b) increases the plant’s biomass as compared to a control plant not transformed with said recombinant polynucleotide.
Claim 5
A method for producing a plant having increased biomass; said method comprising:
(a) providing an expression vector or cassette comprising a polynucleotide sequence selected from the group consisting of:
(i) a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO: 2 or a sequence that is fully complementary to the nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO: 2;
(ii) a nucleotide sequence comprising SEQ ID NO: 1 or a sequence that is fully complementary to the nucleotide sequencecomprising SEQ ID NO: 1; and
(iii) a nucleotide sequence that hybridizes under stringent conditions to a nucleotide sequence of (i) or (ii),wherein the stringent conditions comprise wash conditions of 0.2×SSC to 2.0×SSC, 0.1% SDS at 60-65° C.;
wherein expression of the nucleotide sequence of (iii) increases the plant’s biomass as compared to a control plant not transformed with said expression vector or cassette; and

(b) transforming a plant with the expression vector or cassette, thereby producing a plant that expresses the nucleotide sequence of (i), (ii) or (iii), said plant having increased plant biomass as compared to a control plant not transformed with the expression vector or cassette.

Claim 6
A transgenic plant comprising
a recombinant polynucleotide comprising a polynucleotide sequence that hybridizes over its full length under stringent conditions to:
(a) a nucleotide sequence comprising SEQ ID NO: 1, or a sequence that is fully complementary to the nucleotide sequence comprising SEQ ID NO: 1; or
(b) a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO: 2, or a sequence that is fully complementary to the nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO: 2; wherein the stringent conditions comprise wash conditions of 0.2×SSC, 0.1% SDS at 65° C., andwherein expression of the polynucleotide sequence that hybridizes to either (a) or (b) increases the plant’s biomass as compared to a control plant not transformed with said recombinant polynucleotide.
Claim 7
A method for producing a plant having increased biomass; said method comprising:
(a) providing an expression vector or cassette comprising a polynucleotide sequence selected from the group consisting of:
(i) a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO: 2 or a sequence that is fully complementary to the nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising SEQ ID NO: 2;
(ii) a nucleotide sequence comprising SEQ ID NO: 1 or a sequence that is fully complementary to the nucleotide sequence comprising SEQ ID NO: 1; and
(iii) a nucleotide sequence that hybridizes under stringent conditions to a nucleotide sequence of (i) or (ii),wherein the stringent conditions comprise wash conditions of 0.2×SSC, 0.1% SDS, at 65° C.;
wherein expression of the nucleotide sequence of (iii) increases the plant’s biomass as compared to a control plant not transformed with said expression vector or cassette; and (b) transforming a plant with the expression vector or cassette, thereby producing a plant that expresses the nucleotide sequence of(i), (ii) or (iii), said plant having increased plant biomass as compared to a control plant not transformed with the expression vector or cassette.

Original Applicant:

Mendel Biotechnology, Inc., Hayward, CA., USA

Patent or Publication No. Title, Independent Claims and Summary Assignee
US 7135616

  • Earliest priority – 18 Apr 2001
  • Filed – 09 Aug 2002
  • Granted – 14 Nov 2006
  • Expected expiry – 10 Apr 2021
Title – Biochemistry-related polynucleotides and polypeptides in plants

Claim 1
A method for producing a transgenic plant having increased tolerance to osmotic stress or drought relative to a wild-type plant of the same species, the method steps comprising:(a) producing an expression vector comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising a conserved domain with at least 80% sequence identity to amino acid coordinates 11–80 of SEQ ID NO: 66; and

(b) introducing the expression vector into the plant to produce a transgenic plant;

wherein the polypeptide is overexpressed in the transgenic plant and said overexpression results in the transgenic plant having increased tolerance to the osmotic stress or drought.

Claim 11
A method for producing a transgenic plant having delayed flowering relative to a wild-type plant of the same species, the method steps comprising:(a) producing an expression vector comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising a conserved domain with at least 80% sequence identity to amino acid coordinates 11–80 of SEQ ID NO: 66; and

(b) introducing the expression vector into the plant to produce a transgenic plant;

wherein the polypeptide is overexpressed in the transgenic plant and said overexpression results in the transgenic plant having the delayed flowering.

Claim 21
A method for producing a transgenic plant having increased lignin content relative to a wild-type plant of the same species, the method steps comprising:(a) producing an expression vector comprising a nucleotide sequence encoding a polypeptide comprising a conserved domain with at least 80% sequence identity to amino acid coordinates 11–80 of SEQ ID NO: 66; and

(b) introducing the expression vector into the plant to produce a transgenic plant;

wherein the polypeptide is overexpressed in the transgenic plant and said overexpression results in the transgenic plant having increased lignification relative to the wild-type plant.

Mendel Biotechnology Inc.