The Virus-X project is taking steps to establish intellectual assets from the genetic assets of viral metagenomes. The first patent application, based on new technology using genetic resources that are being discovered in the project, has now been filed (March 2019).
For the industrial-drive of the project and the aim of establishing commercial value, turning scientific discoveries into innovations that can be protected as intellectual property is an important aspect. Patents can provide great value to their owners and increased return on the investment of developing new technology. Patents provide exclusive rights to use and exploit an invention and prevent others from commercially using the patented invention thereby providing a competitive edge and a stronger market position. A patent also gives the opportunity to license or sell the invention or enter into cross licensing arrangements with another enterprise. Having a patent portfolio is a demonstration of the level of expertise and technological capacity within the enterprise which can be extremely useful in many ways such as in applying for grants, raising funds and finding business partners (https://www.wipo.int/sme/en/ip_business/importance/reasons.htm).
Scientists in the Virus-X project are now able to use genetic resources from viruses discovered in Nature through the metagenomic approach of the project and use the viral genes for development of inventive technologies, thereby turning scientific discoveries into innovations. “Unfortunately we cannot publicly disclose further details of the innovation described in the patent application at this point but we are extremely pleased that we have reached this milestone” says Dr. Arnthor Ævarsson, coordinator of Virus-X.