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Patents in bio-med? How do they work? - (Nov/02/2013 )



I was advised by someone, that I should get a patent for my research on the effects of a chemical on cells that are affected by a toxic protein.


I searched on PubMed and Google patents, patents that were using the chemical that I am using in biological applications.


How far does one's research have to be from that of the patent to get a patent? (Hope that makes sense). Is it as simple as quantifying some other independent variable?


Ex: If my research is the effects of chemical X on HEK-293 Cells and Reactive Oxygen Species, but a patent on chemical X has research on the effect of chemical X on SH-5Y5 cells and ROS.


If you could add more info about bio-med patents that would be great!




Here is a lay explanation, consult an expert (e.g. the technology transfer office at your institute for more precise explanations):  Generally working out a mechanism is not patentable.  A patent traditionally describes a process that achieves some desireable goal (e.g. The use of chemical X to treat patients with disease Y).  In general the thing you patent must be a non-obvious advancement.  Presumably even in the SH-5Y5 patent they explicitly say that their patent also covers the same process covering 10 billion other chemicals that slightly resemble chemical X and also using chemical X and these 10 billion other chemicals in other cell lines and in human patients and in other animals.  Even if it is not explicitly stated it is probably rather obvious to try exactly the same thing in another cell line.  If you are able to, for example, make a non-obvious advancement, then you can patent something.  For example, if you figure out that chemical X only works in 2 cell lines (SH-5Y5 and 293HEK) but not 1000 other cell lines because these two cell lines have a SNP that makes them sensitive, then you can likely patent the process of monitoring the SNP as a biomarker for chemical X effictiveness.  Clearly, this is not something that someone else could have just figured out by sitting on their chair thinking of what the first patent implies.  I hope this is helpful. 


This article will be interesting to you: 

A Researcher's Guide to Patents



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