an algae to be used for bio-oil or bio-diesel production…” as found in
US20100221739A1, would be highly relevant because it claims suppression of a gene
resulting in increased photosynthetic productivity.
Of the 190 patent families found, ITTI determined 62 to be relevant. Of the 62 coded
to be relevant, 9 belong to the photosynthesis subcategory. The results indicate that
genetically altering photosynthetic pathways in algae to provide for production of
biodiesel is an emerging field having fewer patents than other areas.
To be considered relevant technology, the patent document must include at least one
claim to genetically-modified algae. Also, the genetic modification must pertain to
lipid secretion. Optionally, the patent document additionally claims genetic
modifications to metabolic pathways for photosynthesis or lipid metabolism. The
term “algae” is broadly construed and includes microalgae, microbes, algae,
oleaginous microorganisms, and cyanobacteria. Among the sixty-two relevant patent
records, four records pertained to lipid excretion or secretion.
For example, a published patent application includes an independent claim that recites
“[a]n oleaginous microbe comprising that [sic] has been engineered to secrete
enhanced amounts of oil by upregulating PI-3 kinase activity.”
In the same
application, a dependent claim recites “the microbes are engineered to over-express
the autophagy-associated genes to increase oil secretion”
These claims recite
genetic modifications affecting lipid secretion (PI-3 kinase regulation) in algae
(“oleaginous microbes” includes microalgae).
To be considered relevant and inclusive for lipid biosynthesis, the patent document
must include language in a claim referring to the manipulation of a lipid biosynthetic
pathway thus increasing the production of fatty acids/lipid within the cells of the
organism. For example, “a nucleic acid encoding a lipid biosynthetic activity, the
method comprising: recombining a plurality of parental nucleic acids to produce one
or more recombinant lipid biosynthetic nucleic acids comprising a distinct or
improved lipid biosynthetic activity…” as described in WO2000061740A1, would be
relevant because the document claims a method for increasing the activity of a lipid
biosynthetic pathway through means of a genetic transformation.
Among the 62
relevant patent documents, 39 were relevant for lipid biosynthesis.
, PCT Application
Serial No. WO2010009348A2, cl.27 (filed July 16, 2009) (assigned to Texas A&M University System).
., PCT Application Serial No. WO20000061740A1, cl.1 (filed Oct. 19, 2000).
This is a broad category because every relevant patent document in this report had to
claim genetic transformation. Any patent documents that claimed a specific sequence
or method of genetic transformation, rather than a “gene of interest”, were
categorized as relevant documents. An example of a relevant patent document
claiming genetic transformation is Publication Number WO2011026008A1 “Biofuel
from Recombinant Oleginous Algae Using Sugar Carbon Sources”. This patent
document claims the genetic transformation of wild algae to express a nucleotide
sequence encoding a sugar metabolizing enzyme used by the transformed algae to
produce biofuel precursors. Therefore this document is relevant to this report.
Patents not including any genetic modification or method of genetic transformation
of algae, but simply a “gene of interest”, were deemed irrelevant. Such an example is
patent document publication number WO1989000606A1 “Microorganism Production
of Omega-3 Lipids”. This patent document is irrelevant because it does not claim a
nucleotide sequence or method of genetically transforming algae. Instead it claims a
method of cultivating algae that produce more omega-3 fatty acids. This is not
relevant for this project, so these patents were not included in the coding process.
Irrelevant patent documents = Patents categorized as irrelevant fall outside of the relevant
category. For example, patents not including any genetic modification or method of
genetic transformation of algae and patents lacking claims without having a detailed
specification or abstract would be categorized as irrelevant.
Appendix B: Patent documents were placed in this section when they could not be
conclusively categorized as either relevant or irrelevant. For example, patent documents
with non-English claims that have been machine translated, patent documents without
claims but containing information that gives an impression of relevancy, and patent
documents that appear relevant but do not distinctly describe their applicable use in
regards to algae fall into this category.
Example. CN101892091A describes a method for expressing fatty acid ethyl ester
synthase (FAEES) and producing biodiesel in a new type body through recombined
algae. This patent document has relevant claims and descriptions as it is
incorporating biodiesel production with recombined algae. However, this is a
machine translated patent document and its accuracy cannot be fully ascertained.
Example. US20020045232A1 describes a method for increased fatty acid production
in plants by genetic transformation. This document would appear to be relevant but
does not specifically mention algae and claims to be useful for cosmetics, paints, and
pharmaceutical purposes. Therefore, it may be relevant but its contributions towards
the issue at hand is unknown.
3.B. Patent De-Duplication Process
Each of the eight team members conducted searches independent of one another. All of the
members’ search strings were combined and then de-duplicated according to the INPADOC
Family ID. This de-duplication process refers to the removal of patent documents within the
same family so as to reduce redundancy during the patent coding process. There is no option
that allows one to directly de-duplicate patents into one-per-family in Thomson Innovation®.
Therefore, we utilized the
Display and Sort
option in Thomson Innovation® to group together
the family members having the same INPADOC Family ID, and manually reduced the patent
The manual de-duplication process included several steps. First, all issued US patents within one
INPADOC family were kept. Second, for a family with no US issued patent, all EP issued
patents were kept for coding. Finally, when no issued patent was available within one
INPADOC family, patent applications with the earliest priority date were kept for review.
Generally, WIPO applications have the earliest priority date within one family. However, some
families only contained foreign patents or patent applications, such as Japanese patents and
patent applications, Korean patents and patent applications or Chinese patents and patent
applications. For these foreign patents or patent applications, ITTI reviewed the translations
offered by Thomson Innovation and based coding off these translated documents, making a note
on the coding spreadsheet that they were translated by Thomson Innovation.
3.C. Patent Coding Results Summary
Final de-duplication resulted in 190 patent documents. The results were then extracted, using
MicroPatent®, into PDF files containing title, abstracts and claims for coding. The 190 patent
documents were assigned among the eight team members for coding.
Each team member analyzed the claims
in the documents, including an analysis
of the specification when necessary to
interpret the claims, and then coded
under one or more of the following ten
Use of genetically-modified
Of the 190 patent documents, 62 were found to be relevant technology, as noted by the green
highlighting on the Master Spreadsheet shown in Section 3D.
A patent document is relevant
after meeting three requirements. First, the document had to specifically claim algae (or an
organism defined in the specification as algae). Second, the patent had to claim a genetic
transformation of the algae or the use of genetically transformed algae. Third, the patent
document had to indicate that it could be useful for biodiesel production by either claiming that
purpose or not limiting the claims to another use. The coding results were inserted into the
Of the 190 patent documents, 5 could not be conclusively coded as either relevant or irrelevant,
as noted by the yellow highlighting on the Master Spreadsheet shown in Section 3E. These 5
documents were unable to be conclusively coded as either relevant or irrelevant for various
reasons, including machine-translated claims, a complete lack of claims or an inability to
determine the applicability of the claimed technology without further investigation.
Additionally, some of the yellow coded patent documents included claims in a language other
than English. If all of the claims, abstract, and description were in a language other than English,
the team was unable to code the document. Therefore, these patent documents may be
categorized as irrelevant even though they are possibly relevant if the claims specified
transformation of algae for biodiesel. Further investigation is required for the yellow-coded
3.D. Spreadsheet for Relevant Technology Patent Documents
FATTY ACIDS IN
acids in cells
sequence encoding a
used as dietary
New recombinant cell
comprises a gene
encoding a fatty acid
useful for preparing a
producing fatty acid
derivatives, and for
of fatty acid
Production of Oil in
diesel or jet fuel
fixed carbon source,
lipid components to
1, 8, 17, 35
22, 33, 38
3, 12, 29, 30,
FATTY ACIDS BY
New cell culture of a
the microorganism is
modified to contain a
nucleic acid molecule,
useful for converting
inorganic carbon to
efficiency by cloning
gene related to carbon
and obtaining stable
genes of interest
whose expression has
been altered or whose
gene product function
has been changed,
useful for increasing
the production of a
desired product, e.g.
lipid and carbohydrate
containing algae using
control sequences of
oleaginous alga useful
for forming bio fuel
that increase the
ability of the alga to
saccharides for algal
fatty acids and oil
New nucleic acids
useful for altering
acid content in
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested