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About the DPD

This database serves as a resource for members of the general public interested in fields like genomics, genetics and biotechnology. The DPD contains a collection of DNA-based patents and patent applications issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and makes the full-text versions of such patents available at no cost to the public. This enables searches of patents that map roughly to the fields of genetics and genomics, for example to identify how much intellectual property from a particular country or particular firm is associated with genetics or genomics R&D.

The production of this database is supported by grants from the ELSI programs of the National Human Genome Research Institute and the Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy. The DPD is a core of Duke University's Center for Excellence in ELSI Research, (CEER), project.

Patents and applications included in the DPD are identified by a search algorithm that captures documents with a nucleic-acid specific term in its claims section and also with a relevant classification code. Terms specific to nucleic acids include "DNA," "RNA," "nucleotide," "polynucleotide," etc. The relevant class codes are those designated by the U.S. classification system for genomic or biotechnological inventions. The current algorithm was developed by Georgetown University's Kennedy Institute of Ethics and was modified from an initial algorithm designed by USPTO senior examiner James Martinell. The current algorithm is available here: [SearchAlgorithm-Delphion-20030512].

Originally, the collection of DNA-based patents was defined by the congressional Office of Technology Assessment, (OTA). This subset of 1068 patents had been read and coded by hand according to a coding sheet [patcode.htm]. When the OTA ceased operations in 1995, these patents were transferred to the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. Updated weekly, the DPD contains over 63,000 DNA-based patents issued from 1971 to the present and over 100,000 patent applications published from 2001 to the present.

Number of items loaded into the DNA Patent Database as of June 18, 2012.

Year Number of U.S. Issued Patents Number of U.S. Published Applications
Total in DPD 63,368 100,758
2012 2,123 4,232
2011 4,389 9,941
2010 4,293 9,894
2009 3,238 9,590
2008 3,175 7,708
2007 3,587 7,848
2006 3,474 8,680
2005 2,722 10,016
2004 3,055 10,225
2003 3,536 13,603
2002 3,872 7,897
2001 4,463 1,124
2000 3,827 n/a
1990-99 16,057 n/a
1980-89 1,433 n/a
1970-79 123 n/a

Last updated on June 18, 2012


Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University

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2008-2012. Web Design. Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University
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Duke Institute for Genome Science and Policy