• Open Access

Strategic patent analysis in plant biotechnology: terpenoid indole alkaloid metabolic engineering as a case study

Authors

  • Bruna Miralpeix,

    1. Departament de Producció Vegetal I Ciència Forestal (PVCF), Universitat de Lleida-Agrotecnio Center, Lleida, Spain
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  • Maite Sabalza,

    1. Departament de Producció Vegetal I Ciència Forestal (PVCF), Universitat de Lleida-Agrotecnio Center, Lleida, Spain
    Current affiliation:
    1. Section of cell and developmental biology, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
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  • Richard M. Twyman,

    1. TRM Ltd, York, UK
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  • Teresa Capell,

    1. Departament de Producció Vegetal I Ciència Forestal (PVCF), Universitat de Lleida-Agrotecnio Center, Lleida, Spain
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  • Paul Christou

    Corresponding author
    1. Departament de Producció Vegetal I Ciència Forestal (PVCF), Universitat de Lleida-Agrotecnio Center, Lleida, Spain
    2. Institució Catalana de Recerca I estudis avançats (ICREA), Barcelona, Spain
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  • The advice presented in this manuscript presents general guidance to help research scientists build a patent search strategy. The authors offer no guarantees or warranties relating to the completeness of the resulting patent lists and can accept no responsibility for any losses incurred.

Summary

The do-it-yourself patent search is a useful alternative to professional patent analysis particularly in the context of publicly funded projects where funds for IP activities may be limited. As a case study, we analysed patents related to the engineering of terpenoid indole alkaloid (TIA) metabolism in plants. We developed a focused search strategy to remove redundancy and reduce the workload without missing important and relevant patents. This resulted in the identification of approximately 50 key patents associated with TIA metabolic engineering in plants, which could form the basis of a more detailed freedom-to-operate analysis. The structural elements of this search strategy could easily be transferred to other contexts, making it a useful generic model for publicly funded research projects.

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