Aniko Fehervari, patent examiner


Hungarian Patent Office, 1054 Budapest, Garibaldi u. 2, Hungary



Combinatorial chemistry and high throughput screening are novel techniques that not only are changing the way the drug discovery process works but also are catalysing major changes in the structure of the pharmaceutical industry.

The essence of combinatorial chemistry is to create large collections, or libraries, of small organic molecules, which can subsequently be screened for biological activity.

Arrayed, spatially addressable synthesis takes advantages of array methodologies a grid of reaction locations, often wells in a plate, contain at each location a specific combination of reactants. Combinatorial chemistry and high throughput screening are come about from an evolution and confluence of a group of apparently unrelated technologies: chemistry, precision engineering, robotics, data handling and recombinant DNA technology.

Several questions and problems arise when an invention based on the above techniques, is applied for patent protection. In the present work, the basic steps and methodologies of combinatorial chemistry are summarized. Specific examples are shown for patents and claims from this field and the questions related to patent opportunities, inventorship and proprietorship are discussed.