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Patenting plants: What to claim


Market competition and a recent agbiotech case highlight the importance of deciding what is patentable subject matter.

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  1. See, for example, US Patent Nos. 5,843,782; 5,436,395; 5,066,830.

  2. See, for example, US Patent No. 5,844,118.

  3. US Patent No. 5,900,525.

  4. For review, see Moffatt, A.S. Science 282, 2176– 2178 (1998) and Holzman, D. Gen. Eng. News 2/15, 1, 8 & 35 (1999).

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  7. Seide, R.K. & Macleod, J.M. 377–458 in Eighth Ann. Patent Prosecution Workshop, Practicing Law Inst. (1998).

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  9. Pub. L. No. 100-418, Title IX, Subtitle A, 101 Stat. 128 (1998), codified as 19 USC 1337 (1991).

  10. Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. v. J.E.M. Ag Supply Inc. 49 USPQ 2d 1813 (N. District Iowa, 1998).

  11. 35 USC 101 states that any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter invented or discovered is patentable.

  12. 35 USC 161–164.

  13. 7 USC 2321 et seq.

  14. Pioneer Hi-Bred International at 49 USPQ 2d at 1817, 1819.

  15. Baggot, B. Gen. Eng. News 2/1, 1 (1999).

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  16. T356/93 (OJEPO 1995, 345).

  17. The full text and commentary can be downloaded from

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  1. Cheryl H. Agris is a patent attorney based in , and is special counsel to


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    Agris, C. Patenting plants: What to claim. Nat Biotechnol 17, 717–718 (1999).

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