About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

Chemistry and Drug Data: Drugbank
Chempedia Lab
Synthetic Pages
Organic Chemistry Portal
Not Voodoo

Chemistry and Pharma Blogs:
Org Prep Daily
The Haystack
A New Merck, Reviewed
Liberal Arts Chemistry
Electron Pusher
All Things Metathesis
C&E News Blogs
Chemiotics II
Chemical Space
Noel O'Blog
In Vivo Blog
Terra Sigilatta
BBSRC/Douglas Kell
Realizations in Biostatistics
ChemSpider Blog
Organic Chem - Education & Industry
Pharma Strategy Blog
No Name No Slogan
Practical Fragments
The Curious Wavefunction
Natural Product Man
Fragment Literature
Chemistry World Blog
Synthetic Nature
Chemistry Blog
Synthesizing Ideas
Eye on FDA
Chemical Forums
Symyx Blog
Sceptical Chymist
Lamentations on Chemistry
Computational Organic Chemistry
Mining Drugs
Henry Rzepa

Science Blogs and News:
Bad Science
The Loom
Uncertain Principles
Fierce Biotech
Blogs for Industry
Omics! Omics!
Young Female Scientist
Notional Slurry
Nobel Intent
SciTech Daily
Science Blog
Gene Expression (I)
Gene Expression (II)
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Transterrestrial Musings
Slashdot Science
Cosmic Variance
Biology News Net

Medical Blogs
DB's Medical Rants
Science-Based Medicine
Respectful Insolence
Diabetes Mine

Economics and Business
Marginal Revolution
The Volokh Conspiracy
Knowledge Problem

Politics / Current Events
Virginia Postrel
Belmont Club
Mickey Kaus

Belles Lettres
Uncouth Reflections
Arts and Letters Daily
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« Cyclodextrin's Day in the Sun | Main | Reorg at Merck? (And a Complaint about Wall Street) »

October 18, 2011

A New Book on Chemical Patents

Email This Entry

Posted by Derek

I wanted to mention a book I've received a review copy of recently: Writing Chemistry Patents and Intellectual Property: A Practical Guide. The description is accurate. It'll be most useful for people who don't have access to a lot of well-paid legal talent - or at least would like to get things into shape as much as possible before calling them in and starting the meter running. It goes into detail on what makes a valid application, what patent examiners are trained to look for, and how to draft an application that will stand the best chance of surviving scrutiny. It's not a replacement for a patent attorney - you're still going to need one - but it can keep you from wasting the time of one, or from spending your own money while doing so.

Note added for legal reasons: that's an Amazon affiliate link, meaning that Amazon will (without raising the price to you) rebate a small amount of each purchase you make to me - not just that book, but whatever else you might purchase at the same time. I promise to spend it on the sorts of riotous living that one can fund only through Amazon gift cards.

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Book Recommendations | Patents and IP


1. Thomas McEntee on October 18, 2011 1:36 PM writes...

35 years ago, when I was thinking about alternate careers, I took the ACS audio course on chemistry patents, 6 or 8 tape cassettes, a course manual, etc. I suppose it was decent course for the time but I have no basis for saying this...the companies I worked for had Patent Law units which handled everything. Much of my work was in process chemistry, and process patents for batch manufacturing of APIs and intermediates can be bears to enforce.

But on the subject of Amazon and books, why are students taking Organic Chemistry this year forced to buy the new & improved 38th edition of a textbook, rather than use last year's 37th edition? We all the answer....the publishers and authors have a financial stake in this churning. And this scam goes well-beyond chemistry. Why can't upgrades to college textbooks be issued like software version releases and patches? Buy a legal copy of Adobe Acrobat and you qualify for some run of upgrades and patches. Anyone ever hear of such an idea? It sounds like something that Jeff Bezos at Amazon could have some influence on with the publishing sector.

Permalink to Comment

2. Derek Freyberg on October 19, 2011 2:41 PM writes...


If you'd like someone with a professional background in chem/pharm patent law (30 years) to look at it, please contact me, dfreyberg-at-sbcglobaldotnet, and I'll be happy to do so and return comments to you: just not willing to spend $70+ for 250 pages.

Permalink to Comment

3. bad wolf on October 20, 2011 6:44 AM writes...

#2--no cash on hand: always the sign of a successful lawyer.

Permalink to Comment

4. Chris on October 20, 2011 7:50 AM writes...

I was "Looking inside" on Amazon, so don't take this as anything close to a full review of this book. But as someone who is a patent agent who works in chemistry, I find some of the material to be dissociated from the actual practice of obtaining chemical patents. In a sense, the advice is not really very "practical" and by no means equips one to write such a patent, though as Derek says it may be good background knowledge.

For example, page 56: "it is important not to receive a 101, 102, or 103 rejection". I have never seen a case in which a chemical patent proceeded to allowance without triggering at least one of these (mostly 103). In fact, I would argue that an application that did not at least initially receive such a rejection probably did not cover the inventive concept broadly enough.

As another example, the book contains but a single sentence (p. 176) relevant to genus-species issues, which is the core concept of most 103 rejections in chemical practice. e.g. "There's this paper written in Russian from 1973 that has a molecule like yours, except the methyl is in the 5 position -- but otherwise it is a lot like your molecules, so your whole genus is obvious." And there is also scant reference to the ubiquitous restriction requirements (I've heard of as many as _105_ inventions in one application being required to be divided, and fees paid, in some chemical inventions).

I'm not saying don't read this book, but it is only a start. There a lot of traps for the unwary in chemical patent practice.

Permalink to Comment


Remember Me?


Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

The Last Post
The GSK Layoffs Continue, By Proxy
The Move is Nigh
Another Alzheimer's IPO
Cutbacks at C&E News
Sanofi Pays to Get Back Into Oncology
An Irresponsible Statement About Curing Cancer
Oliver Sacks on Turning Back to Chemistry