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In reference to the patent: US 9,057,097 B2

Much of this technique was described previously in Piepenburg et al. (PLoS ONE, 2006). Can academic labs explore this approach using the method described there without worrying about patent infringement? I work in an ecology lab and would like to try to apply RPA to some of our common applications.

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I'm a scientist at Twist.

The easiest way to access RPA is to buy a kit. It's quite involved to make the reactions from scratch so it's not trivial to DIY. There are lots of proteins, not all of which are commercially available individually (and certainly not economically).

The terms of supply are available online, but Section 6.4 is the relevant one, which is provided below.

6.4 The Buyer acknowledges and agrees that the Materials and Information are proprietary to the Company and may be covered by claims of patents or patent applications of the Company. The Goods are sold subject to the following restrictions:

(a) the Materials and Information are non-exclusively licensed to the Buyer solely for non-commercial internal research purposes.

(b) the Materials and Information must not be used for any commercial purposes or to provide services to any third party;

(c) the Buyer must not re-package or re-sell the Materials or Information;

(d) the Buyer acknowledges that the Materials are experimental in nature and may have properties that are not fully understood. Accordingly, the Buyer agrees not to use the Materials or derivatives thereof for any in vivo testing or for any clinical diagnostic purposes whatsoever for animals or humans;

(e) the Buyer shall use the Materials and Information strictly in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and guidelines.

The Company reserves all intellectual property rights in and to the Material and Information, subject only to the license set forth above.

For terms and conditions see the License Card.

Here is a list of some academic publications by groups already using RPA.

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If you look in the non-patent citations, you will find that the Piepenburg et al. 2006 paper is cited as prior art against this patent (of which Piepenburg is one of the inventors). Looking in Public Pair, you can also see a long history of patents in this space going back to 2002 (at least 6 grants which will likely be enforceable until February 22, 2022).

You might find some freedom to operate within non-patent literature cited in those earlier patents (and in the non-final rejections in the Image File Wrapper - see Public Pair), but the intention of the company was obviously to lock this entire space up. The non-final rejections for this patent in particular is interesting because the examiner is rejecting some claims based on double-patenting. Due to this, you might find some Terminal Disclaimers that could expire some of these patents prior to their normal expiration date.

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