Gene fragment patents do not preclude subsequent patents for full gene, PTO tells NIH.
GENE FRAGMENT PATENTS DO NOT PRECLUDE SUBSEQUENT FULL GENE PATENTS, PTO Commissioner Bruce Lehman said in a recent letter to the National Institutes of Health. "Patent claims, limited in scope to a specific novel and non-obvious EST [expressed sequence tag], generally should not preclude the future patenting of the corresponding, later discovered, full length gene of known function or of therapeutic technologies arising therefrom," Lehman wrote in the April 2 letter. The letter responds to two NIH letters sent to PTO in late March -- one from NIH Director Harold Varmus and the other from Office of Technology Transfer's Jack Spiegel.
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