Patents, Copyrights & Licence Agreements

Michael Finney finney at Frodo.MGH.Harvard.EDU
Wed Nov 10 22:20:05 EST 1993

In response to a previous request for the Roche Taq polymerase
patent, I am posting the claims of the patent.  For those lucky
people who have never had to deal with patent lawyers, the claims
are the only important part of the patent, and spell out exactly
what the patent covers.  The patent in question is number

Here it is, bad grammar, poor terminology, and all:
What is claimed is:
1. Purified thermostable Thermus aquaticus DNA polymerse that 
migrates on a denaturing polyacrylamide gel faster than 
phosphorylase B and more slowly than does bovine serum 
albumin and has an estimated molecular weight of 86,000-
90,000 daltons when compared with a phosphorylase B standard 
assigned a molecular weight of 92,500 daltons.
2. The polymerase of claim 1 that is isolated from Thermus 
3. The polymerase of claim 1 that is isolated from a 
recombinant organism transformed with a vector that codes for 
the expression of Thermus aquaticus DNA polymerse.

By the way, the old Cetus corporation is famous for submitting
enormously long and poorly-written patents.  This particular
patent runs 22 pages.  But it looks like it covers Taq, unless
it is made by in vitro translation or synthesized on a peptide 

My question is why more people don't use other enzymes, especially
for sequencing, where everything is legal and above-board.  Is
it really possible that no other enzyme is as good as Taq?  Or
is it just that everyone has optimized protocols for Taq, and
won't take the trouble to re-optimize?


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