April 2012 Patent Watch
USPTO Plant Biotechnology Patent Watch – April 2012 The US Patent and Trademark Office in April published a total of 39 patent applications from 28 different assignees covering genetically modified plants and methods of producing them. Five were for input traits, including an application from Bayer CropScience for glyphosate-tolerant oilseed rape and one from Monsanto for its glyphosate-tolerant MON17503 rice line. Other filings concerned nematode-resistant plants from BASF Plant Sciences, fungal pathogen-resistant crops from DuPont and potyvirus-resistant potatoes from J R Simplot. There were 22 applications published that concerned output traits, including 14 claiming improvements to stress tolerance or increasing yield. Methods of altering the content of GM plants, principally modifications to lipid profiles, accounted for six applications. Two applications concerned methods of altering plant phenotypes. A further 12 applications concerned other aspects of biotechnology, such as newly identified promoters, expressed sequence tags or transformation methods. Two companies, BASF and Monsanto, had five filings published. They were followed by China’s Huazhong Agricultural University (3 applications) and then Bayer, Ceres, Dow AgroSciences and DuPont (all two filings each).