FAQs – Technology Landscape

  1. What is a Technology Landscape?

    Our technology landscape papers, which some have called “White Papers”, discuss technologies relevant to life scientists. The currently posted papers focus mainly on enabling technologies and “freedom to operate” issues in agricultural biotechnology. Future papers will deal with other life sciences enabling technologies.

  2. How often are they updated?

    Technology Landscapes require extensive searching and analytical work by people skilled both in science and intellectual property. As soon as they are completed, they can become out of date because of new patent applications or granted patents, lapses or expiration of old patents. For this reason, we recently obtained a grant from BusinessACT to create a pathway by which users can note new patents or status changes in our forum, as well as add observations about the technology and its availability. These user comments can be very valuable and add to the usefulness of the resource, and all updates by registered users are posted immediately so that any other user can evaluate them.

  3. How are the topics chosen?

    Topic areas were originally chosen after consultation with individuals knowledgeable in agriculture and commercialization. As health sciences data has been added to the Patent Lens, individuals familiar with the major patent issues in health are also being asked to provide input for additional topics.

  4. For a given topic, do you mention every patent that covers that topic or only a selection of patents? If not, how are patents chosen to be included?

    Patents can be often classified based on the breadth and scope of their claims. Generally, we only include the most broadly granted patents in each area. Therefore, if a particular patent area or topic is of interest or importance to you, additional patent searches should be done.Please comment on your findings via the user annotation interface, as this information could be valuable to others considering patents to license.

  5. Do you comment on the scientific quality or validity of the Technology Landscapes?

    We do not provide extensive comment or critical evaluation the ideas, scientific experiments or results published in a patent, but users are welcome to do so in our forum via the annotation interface provided.It is important to note that when determining whether claims are patentable, a Patent Office does not have facilities to repeat and check the experiments, but performs searches for the “prior art” and attempts to determine the novelty, utility, obviousness and enablement for “persons having ordinary skill in the art” area of the technology. An issued patent is presumed valid until a patent office or court decides otherwise.User comments about whether the technology in a patent actually works are therefore very valuable to the user community, and can point to ways the technology can be improved, perhaps with the improvements being made available to the community.

  6. What are the sources of information for the Technology Landscapes?

    We rely on patents, patent applications, scientific journal articles and general reference books. Many of the journal articles we consult are cited in the technology landscapes. If you know of additional references that should be cited, please comment in our discussion forum! These can be very valuable to the user community.

  7. How can I put together my own Technology Landscape?

    Briefly, the steps are:first to decide on the scope of the topic
    identify databases (patent literature and scientific literature and others) to search (it’s important to know the scope of the databases, because a good search will leave important documents out if the database isn’t comprehensive)
    design search criteria to find documents of interest (terminology to search in the text, names of inventors and companies active in the field, etc.)
    review the documents in the search output, and refine the search. This step may need to be repeated multiple times with multiple search criteria.
    identify the output documents that have relevance to the topic
    review the status, ownership, and history of each relevant patent document, and perhaps related documents
    analyse the claims
    These steps aren’t straightforward because patent searching and claim language can be very complex, but with the patent search and tutorials of the Patent Lens, we are trying to make this process increasingly transparent.If you have patent informatics, patent searching, or claims analysis expertise, you may be interested in contributing to the development of the Patent Lens – contact us.

  8. Do you take suggestions for future papers?

    Yes, we definitely take suggestions, though we can make no promises that we will be able to follow them up. We are a small team and welcome contributions from others.