You are locked in a race with a competitor to identify drug candidates that can treat HIV/AIDS that has developed resistance to standard treatments. Under the following fact scenarios, analyze who will be entitled to a patent.
Your team (team A) uses a computer program to identify structural features of small molecules that can block HIV/AIDS replication. On January 2011, based on structural predictions from this computer program, your team designs (on paper) twenty non-naturally occurring small molecules that it predicts will block HIV/AIDS viral replication.
On April 2011, the competing team B isolates the exact same twenty small molecules from a library (i.e. an existing collection) of non-naturally occurring small molecules. The competing team uses an in vitro assay (i.e. outside the body) that tests whether small molecules from the library can block HIV/AIDS viral replication (and thus block HIV/AIDS progression). These twenty compounds were found to be very effective viral replication blockers in vitro.
On May 2011 team A tests the twenty compounds in vitro and finds that all of them block viral replication.
Team B files for a patent on April, 2011, team A files on May, 2011
Which team will likely get the patent for the twenty compounds and why?
Now assume that between January 2011 and May 2011, team A had put its project on hold to run marketing analyses and determine whether it was worth investing in further testing. Does this change your analysis? Why/why not?
Now assume that the dates listed above are for the same months, but for the year 2013. Does this change your analysis? Why/why not?
Under this new scenario, further assume that on February 2013 team A shares all of its laboratory notebooks containing records of the twenty identified compounds with several African laboratories involved in HIV/AIDS research. Does this change your analysis? Why/Why not?
Further assume that on February 2013 members of the African laboratories post the structures of the compounds in an online HIV/AIDS research forum. On March 2013 team B publishes an article describing the structures of the twenty compounds. Does this change your analysis? Why/Why not?