Chapter 7: Bulk Sequence Applications

Our analysis has uncovered a number of bulk sequence applications. For the purposes of this landscape, we are defining bulk sequence applications as those that claim more than 1,000 sequences. Bulk sequence applications do not generally result in bulk sequence patents; usually only a few sequences remain by the time the patent issues. While the application is pending however, it requires monitoring communications at the USPTO (via PAIR) to discern which sequences will be claimed by an issued patent. While bulk sequence applications and the possibility of provisional patent rights emanating from publication may create fear, uncertainty, and doubt for researchers working in the area, tools provided by Patent Lens can be used to assist the monitoring process.

The Good News About Bulk Sequence Applications

The good news about bulk sequence applications is that every sequence that is disclosed in the application becomes part of the public domain when the bulk sequence application publishes. This means that all of the sequences, whether they are claimed or simply disclosed in the specification, can no longer be patented by anyone else in that particular jurisdiction, unless they are already the subject of an earlier filed patent.

Another factor to consider is that for each bulk sequence application, the applicant may file a number of divisional applications in order to claim additional nucleotide sequences. Although, this strategy is likely to be cost prohibitive to most patent seekers. Therefore, a patent family stemming from a bulk sequence application is most likely to result in only a handful of claimed nucleotide sequences.