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.

At the time Jensen and Murray did their paper, only information on sequences in some US granted patents was readily searchable in GenBank’s patnt database (they found 11,081 patent grants containing “SEQUENCE LISTING” and “SEQ ID” that were not in GenBank’s patnt database) and sequence from patent applications was not readily searchable.

CAMBIA has since extracted the sequences from US published patent applications, and delineated which are in the claims (as opposed to those elsewhere in the specification).  These data (Bacon N, Ashton D, Jefferson RA, Connett MB, 2006, Biological sequences named and claimed in US patents and patent applications, CAMBIA Patent Lens OS4 Initiative)  could be used in future to do a more thorough analysis of patenting trends in the human genome and other completely sequenced genomes.  If you are interested in collaboration, please contact us.

  • New!  Data compiled from the US granted patents and applications is now fully searchable using BLAST.
  • New!  See the data from the pending patent applications applied to a BLAST comparison with the human genome.
  • Important Information Regarding Sequences
    Sequences from USPTO Applications –  those that were published up to 2/Nov/06
    Sequences from USPTO Grants – those that were published up to 31/Oct/06
    Bulk sequences for both Applications & Grants that were available on 3/Nov/06.

Coming soon to the Patent Lens:  We at CAMBIA have been doing the work to make it possible to do a thorough landscape of the rice and Arabidopsis genomes (Connett et al. in prep.), which will present matching DNA sequences not only in US granted patents but also in pending patent applications, and related patent documents in other jurisdictions such as China.

Acknowledgement:  Significant funding for collection of sequence data from published applications and delineation of claimed sequences in the data was provided by the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway through the International Rice Research Institute for CAMBIA’s Patent Lens (the OS4 Initiative: Open Source, Open Science, Open Society, Orzya sativa).  We are further grateful for computer time and the assistance of Gavin Kennedy of CSIRO to run the BLAST comparisons with the full human genome.