The risk of narrow protection


Caroline Pallard

A growing number of biotechnology inventions relate to peptides, oligonucleotides and other small molecules that could be used in therapeutic applications. Caroline Pallard explains the challenges of patenting such inventions.

A peptide can be used, for example, as a vaccine, while an oligonucleotide can be used to silence a given gene whose expression product is involved in the development of a disease. Normally, biotechnology patent applications disclose a high number of peptides or oligonucleotides. The applicant usually follows this strategy in order to reduce the filing costs by gathering several peptides/oligonucleotides in a single application.

However, this is not without risk, since at the time of filing the application, the applicant may not yet know which peptides or oligonucleotides will prove to be the most promising. This article gives an overview of some of the problems encountered in Europe by this type of patent application.

Lack of unity

Patent protection, peptides, oligonucleotides, vaccines, inventive step