Scientists at the Venter Institute have filed several families of patent applications for tools and techniques in synthetic biology. These include a minimal bacterial genome, methods for creating synthetic genomes and cells, and methods of DNA assembly. This section examines the scope of the claimed inventions and how they have been treated by the United States patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Analysis of patent examining practices is important because it reveals whether the validity criteria are applied such that high-quality patents are being granted. High-quality patents-which meet the statutory requirements for patentability, can help to drive innovation, while poor-quality patents can hinder it. Ensuring high-quality patents is important for promoting innovation in synthetic biology. This both courts and USPTO should stringently apply the patent-eligible subject matter tests and validity criteria.