Tutorial: How do I search for sequence information in patents?

Sometimes sequence information is only available in patents. This is why we recommend carrying out a patent search as part of your overall orphan enzyme evaluation process.

Click here for the US Patent Search page

In general, you will want to use the quick search for most of your searches:




As with a literature search, use each of the names you have collected for your orphan enzyme. It is also possible to search using EC numbers, but there are many patents out there that list all of the EC numbers (e.g. patents for enzyme platforms often list all of the ECs) so you will see many irrelevant results.

Here are the results of a search for “4-hydroxybenzoate 1-hydroxylase:”




You will then need to click through to each individual patent. The top of a patent page on the website looks like this:




The next step is to search within the page for the name of your enzyme. You are looking for your enzyme’s name being linked to a SEQ ID, like the highlighted portion within this patent:




Although the sequences are included within the text on a patent page, they are often really hard to pick out visually. Once you have found the correct SEQ ID, click the “Images” link at the top of the page for the full image versions of the patent. It’s then easiest to click all the way to the end of the patent, and back up a page at a time until you find the sequence with the correct number:




You can then transcribe the sequence and use BLAST check whether it already has an accession number.