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Microbiology is a key discipline underpinning many aspects of modern biotechnology that in recent years has further grown in significance as the importance of the human microbiome to health has been revealed and the therapeutic potential of targeting the microbiome begins to be realised. This is a rapidly developing and exciting field in which the first live biotherapeutic products are beginning to become a reality. In other areas, the soil and plant microbiomes are important to agriculture and plant health and there are many established and new uses for bacteria in industry, relating to everything from food manufacture to complex synthetic biology and the production of jet fuel.
Building robust patent portfolios relating to bacteria presents particular challenges due to the complexity of the products and methods that need to be protected, in particular because reproducibility of many of these inventions requires physical access to a deposit of biological material. Furthermore, therapeutics targeting the human microbiome represent a new class of medicines that requires a considered and tailored approach to IP strategy.
We have represented clients active in microbiology for many years and have a wealth of experience and technical expertise in microbiology. We also have extensive experience drafting and prosecuting and defending/opposing patents relating to bacteria for a range of clients in healthcare-related, agricultural and industrial biotechnology. These inventions may relate for example to individual microbial strains and their uses or consortia of different bacteria that co-exist in nature or can be assembled artificially, and also the complex data-handling required to understand these microbial communities. In addition, we regularly help clients navigate the often complex requirements relating to deposited microorganisms under the Budapest Treaty.