Bioinformatics is an exciting and growing interdisciplinary technological field. Bioinformatics can be used to predict protein sequences through analysis of large databases of biological data to enable the development of new drug therapies. Bioinformatics can also be used to better understand the genetic basis for disease, as well as unique adaptations. Advances in computing and software, such as artificial intelligence (AI), open increasing possibilities for bioinformatics related innovation. Not surprisingly, the bioinformatics sector is predicted to exceed $16 billion by 2022.
With a largely fledgling industry that has such potential for growth, it is hardly surprising that patent applications aimed at protecting various bioinformatic related innovations are increasing – up 40% in 2017 compared with the number of applications filed in 2010.
Despite the great potential for innovations in the bioinformatic space to identify new drug therapies and greater understanding of complex disease and adaptations and mutations, which would be of extraordinary societal benefit, the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice v. CLS Bank has wreaked havoc on these patent applications covering foundationally important technologies.
“The percentage of office actions issued by the business-method art units that included eligibility rejections increased to over 90% after Alice was issued,” Dr. Kate Gaudry, a patent attorney and partner at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP recently explained in an article published on IPWatchdog.com. “A near-identical increase in eligibility rejections was also observed in applications from bioinformatics, though the eligibility prevalence remained rather stable when considering [other biotech related inventions] as a whole.”
Unlike for business methods and inventions relating to artificial intelligence, however, after an initial dip in the allowance rate of patents relating to bioinformatics innovations, the allowance rate for Art Unit 1631, the primary Art Unit Assigned, has steadily increased rather dramatically since about the middle of 2017.
Join Gene Quinn, President and CEO of IPWatchdog, Inc, on Thursday, March 7, 2019, at 12:00 PM EST, for a free webinar discussion of bioinformatics patents, patentability and drafting practices. Joining Gene will be Dr. Kate Gaudry, the author of this article, and John White, patent expert, lecturer and partner with Berenato & White.