Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Antibody patenting without antibodies: a global trend

Granting human gene patents that include broad antibody claims without any experimental antibody production makes the gene patent issue more complex.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Statistics on human gene patents including antibody claims.
Figure 2: Annual change in the number of each category of human gene patent.
Figure 3


  1. Doll, J.J. Science 280, 689–690 (1998).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Heller, M.A. & Eisenberg, R.S. Science 280, 698–701 (1998).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Andrews, L.B. Nat. Rev. Genet. 3, 803–808 (2002).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Merz, J.F., Kriss, A.G., Leonard, D.G. & Cho, M.K. Nature 415, 577–579 (2002).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Nishi, T. IIP Bull. 13, 154–159 <> (2004).

    Google Scholar 

  6. European Patent Office, Japan Patent Office & United States Patent and Trademark Office. <> (2001).

  7. Reichert, J. & Pavlou, A. Nat. Rev. Drug Discov. 3, 383–384 (2004).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Hopkins, M.M., Mahdi, S., Patel, P. & Thomas, S.M. Nat. Biotechnol. 25, 185–187 (2007).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. 35 U.S.C. § 112, first paragraph.

  10. Japanese Patent Law, article 36(6)(ii).

  11. European Patent Convention, article 84.

  12. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 2004, docket 02-1187.

  13. Gaëta, B.A. et al. Bioinformatics 23, 1580–1587 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Kulkarni-Kale, U., Bhosle, S. & Kolaskar, A.S. Nucleic Acids Res. 33, 168–171 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Japanese Patent Law, article 36(6)(i).

  16. European Patent Convention, article 84.

  17. Asano, T. IIP Bull. 13, 78–84 <> (2004).

    Google Scholar 

  18. Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf, Germany, docket I-2 U80/02 (2005).

  19. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, docket 03-1158, 03-1159 (2004).

Download references


We would like to thank M. Hagiwara, M. Muramatsu and intellectual property assistants at Tokyo Medical and Dental University for providing suggestions and comments, and T. Akagi at RIKEN for technical assistance. This analysis has been supported by Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Supplementary information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Hashimoto, K., Aida, T. Antibody patenting without antibodies: a global trend. Nat Biotechnol 26, 1341–1343 (2008).

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing