BIOT 645 UMUC Bioprocessing Discussion

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intellectual Property (IP) is important in the business of biotechnology. This assignment is designed to familiarize you with the basics of searching publicly available patent databases. It is not as hard as it sounds – but it is a very important and useful skill. In a future course, you will find some of the capstone projects for this program involve researching and assessing the intellectual property for startup companies. When working in any company, ignorance about the existence of a patent that you have violated in producing your own product is not an acceptable excuse and can be a very costly mistake!


For this assignment begin by selecting a domain or topic to search for. I encourage you to be very specific. If you are stuck for something to search for, go back to the antibody you reported on or the expression system you researched, or an enzyme we discussed. There are several patent search engines out there including the list below. Also, you may want to do a search for general patent information, if necessary to understand concepts, terms, details regarding intellectual property. One overview I like is http://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-started/patent-basics/types-patent-applications/utility-patent/process-obtaining

For this assignment – write a concise and articulate short answer report following the bulleted list below addressing the following:

  1. Topic. The specific topic you identified for your patent search
  2. Issued Patent. One US patent noting the number, title, and filing date of an ISSUED US PATENT on the topic you chose and the expiration date for that patent (and why you believe that is the date).
  3. PCT filing. One PCT filed published application on the same topic
  4. Search by Inventor. Find one patent number and title issued with Paul Allenza (one of the UMGC biotechnology instructors) as one of the inventors. Also find one PCT-filed application with Allenza as one of the inventors but which never became a US-issued patent. Also give two possible reasons (no more than 3-4 words for each reason!) why some applications [eg some of Paul Allenza’s PCT published applications] may never show up as US issued patents.
  5. General. What does PCT stand for? Explain why the PCT patent database search is an important tool for a biotechnology researcher in the US.

NOTE: A common mistake is not to include a complete patent number. A patent number will look like US12345678B1 (not just 12345678). A PCT patent application will be something like WO2004029577A2, WO stands for World International Property Organization, don’t use a EP1234556A1 number, that is a European patent number which may or may not be PCT. Read the whole question and answer each part. Answers can be short answer or a couple sentences as needed. This is not a ‘prose’ assignment, doesn’t have to be a written paper. If you pay attention to this paragraph you will avoid 99% of common mistakes for this assignment.

What: Patent Searching assignment posted in your Assignments Folder. The assignment should be about 600 words, short answer format but using APA format for citations and references as needed.


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