Microbiome companies face a unique obstacle when trying to maintain an exclusive hold on their products because it is not possible to patent a naturally occurring substance. This life science field may encounter legal roadblocks when attempting to prevent other companies from profiting off their innovations.
McCarter partner Dr. Marcie Clarke mentioned that many microbiome companies are researching mechanisms to prevent the unwanted spread of microorganisms into the environment. Once a solution is found and patented, it could spur an intellectual property fight. She said, “I suspect that once a really good way of containing (microbiome treatments) is found, a lot of companies will want to use that.”