As part of our mission to protect the public domain, stimulate innovation and support good patents, we review all U.S. and international patents/applications referencing any of the 33 psychedelic compounds tracked on our shortlist. Below, we define the three-tier system used to evaluate and categorize patents/applications, with tier 1 posing the highest and tier 3 posing the lowest threat to the psychedelic field. Threat is defined as the potential to sequester existing technologies and knowledge in the public domain and block innovation, research, access, and entry into the field. We assess the claims, data, posed threat, and applicant to assign a tier ranking and determine if tier 1 applications are good candidates for intervention via a U.S. third-party preissuance submission or an international third-party observation.
35 U.S.C. 122(e) provides a mechanism for third parties to submit patents, published patent applications, or other printed publications of potential relevance to the examination of a patent application with a concise description of the asserted relevance of each document submitted.
International Third-Party Observation processes are dependent upon the filing country - please visit corresponding patent office websites for more information.
When a patent application is filed it is typically published in the USPTO database 18 months after the earliest filing date. On average, it takes two years for an application to reach final disposition when it is either approved or rejected by the patent examiner assigned to the case. During this time, any third-party can provide prior art to challenge one or more of the claims made in the patent application by filing a third-party preissuance submission. During this process, the third party will provide prior art challenging the patentability of the application’s claim(s). This may force the applicant to amend or cancel their claims and will ensure that the patent examiner has the relevant prior art available during their review process.
We begin by reviewing all U.S. and international patents/applications referencing any of the 33 compounds on our short list on a weekly basis. Our team searches for keywords in the title, abstract, claims and description of the published patents/applications.
During our weekly patent search, our team evaluates newly published patents/applications to assess the scope of claims in relation to the data presented in the filing and determine the potential threat to sequester technologies and knowledge existing in the public domain.
As a secondary evaluation criterion weighted less than claims, threat and data, the team evaluates the patent portfolio of the assignee to determine if they have filed multiple overly broad patents/applications.
After evaluating the patents/applications and determining the level of threat to the public domain, we categorize the patents/applications into one of three tiers, with tier 1 posing the highest threat and tier 3 posing the lowest.
Tier 1 patents/applications contain the following criterion in claims, threat, data and applicant.
Tier 2 patents/applications contain the following criterion in claims, threat, data and applicant.
Tier 3 patents/applications contain the following criterion in claims, threat, data and applicant.
Indigenous communities have long used psychedelic plant medicines. Yet, they have largely been excluded from the discourse and profits surrounding the modern-day commercialization and intellectual property rights of these substances. Because of our commitment to an ethical patent landscape, we continue to explore mechanisms to support, consider, and respect Indigenous practices in the psychedelic patent field.
Porta Sophia takes Indigenous practices into account when evaluating patents within our three-tier system. Patents or patent applications that attempt to monopolize or appropriate published Indigenous medicine, culture, practices, or knowledge for which known prior art is available will be assigned to Tier 1 in our evaluation system. Such patents or patent applications pose the highest threat level, defined as the potential to sequester existing practices and knowledge in the public domain and to block innovation and access, especially for Indigenous practices.
Through this Indigenous Awareness Initiative and our tiered evaluation system, we aim to safeguard not only the integrity of the psychedelic patent landscape but also the practices of Indigenous communities documented in the public domain.