Biotechnology & Life Sciences

As life yields its mysteries to science, innovations in biotechnology and life science will improve human health and deliver unique goods to the consumer. These technologies involve biomolecules (or synthetic analogs) and living things for use in a variety of applications, many outside of medicine. Originally, hormones such as somatotropin and insulin were purified in limited quantities from the pituitary gland and the pancreas, respectively. Recombinant technology was used to isolate genes coding for the hormone and to express it in large amounts without having to sacrifice more glandular material, which was scarce. Further manipulation of the native hormone has accelerated evolution to confer on future generations a new property, such as increased potency, that could not have been obtained from somatotropin and insulin as originally purified. Besides their uses in chemical and physiological applications, the products of biotechnology and life sciences may be used to manipulate individual molecules (i.e.,nanotechnology) and for information processing (i.e., biocomputing).

N&V has the background to comprehend your technology, the knowledge to communicate your discovery to others and to negotiate on your behalf, and the experience to advise you on the many complex legal issues related to intellectual property (IP). To guard completed research or investment in future developments, you should consider procuring legal protection for your discovery, maximizing the value of your IP portfolio through licensing, and litigating to prevent infringers from misappropriating your IP. N&V can counsel you to unravel the seeming confusion of your legal obligations imposed by a competitor's IP rights or a government agency.

N&V provides IP services in the following
technical fields:

  • Antisense inhibition and RNA interference
  • Brain and nervous system
  • Culturing cells, tissues, or microorganisms
  • Disease diagnosis, prevention, and treatment
  • Engineering a new or improved property for a biologic
  • Fermentation and bioreactors
  • Genetic analysis for identification, mapping, and sequencing
  • Hormones, cytokines, or other soluble mediators of cell interaction
  • Immunotherapy, antibodies, and vaccines
  • Kinases, phosphatases, or other posttranslational modifications in a signaling pathway
  • Ligands, receptors, or channels on the cell membrane
  • Microarrays and expression profiling
  • Nucleic acid amplification, DNA replication, RNA transcription, protein translation, and assays thereof
  • Oncogenes, tumor suppressors, and carcinogenesis
  • Pharmacogenomics and proteomics
  • QTL analysis and breeding of plants or animals
  • Repositioning known biologics for new indications
  • Stem cells and their replacement of somatic cells
  • Transgenic plants or animals
  • Ubiquitin and proteasomes
  • Vectors for gene therapy or transfection
  • X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, and other structural determination techniques

Development of your technology from initial innovation to commercial sale is an arduous process. Early steps include assessing whether your discovery can be legally protected and deciding on a strategy for building an IP portfolio around your technology. That portfolio is often an asset as valuable as your physical plant and human resources. Patent protection may be obtained for many inventions. In appropriate situations, protection may also be available through a plant patent or plant variety certificate. Alternatively, some IP might be protected under copyright, trademark, trade secret, or unfair competition law. N&V can help by evaluating the existing IP landscape and planning your activities to avoid the IP of others. Interference, reexamination, reissue, cancellation, and opposition expertise is available as needed. Legal opinions can be provided on inventorship, validity, infringement, freedom-to-operate and product clearance.

N&V can support your business transactions involving IP assets in financing, technology transfer, outsourcing or third-party service arrangements and joint ventures or strategic alliances. Clients are represented in diverse proceedings before government agencies, trial or appellate courts, mediators and arbitrators.

Your understanding of IP issues, protecting your IP and avoiding your competitor's IP require the specialized assistance of an IP attorney. N&V has assisted universities and research institutes, nascent companies and multinationals working in the biotechnology and life science industries.

If you are interested in legal representation or would like more information, please contact one of our attorneys or call us at 1-703-816-4000.