Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Patented Mouse That Roared

This week's Nature magazine reports that two genetic research labs, Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine and the Central Institute for Experimental Animals in Kawasaki, Japan, are involved in dispute over a patent mouse. CIEA sued Jackson in December, 2008 for infringing its patent, US 7,145,055, issued in 2006.

Jackson Lab, a non-profit, doesn't patent its discoveries, except in a few limited cases. CIEA's patent portfolio consists of just a few patents.

Patents for transgenic mice are generally classified in Class 800, Multicellular Living Organisms. Approximately 625 patents for transgenic mice and several hundred more for genetically modified cows, pigs, fishes, birds and swine
have been issued since the late 1980s. The first patent, US 4,736,866, for a transgenic mouse, the so-called Harvard mouse, was issued in 1988.