According to a report by Marks & Clerk, a law firm specializing in intellectual property, advances in biotechnology are being driven by universities and public research institutes. The most biotech patent families—“groups of patents associated with a single invention”—filed in the period 2002–2006 was 1,022, by the Japan Science and Technology Agency, followed by the University of California and the US government (primarily the National Institutes of Health), with 543 and 443, respectively. US universities make a strong showing in the top 20 list of biotech patent family holders: the University of Texas is also in the top 10, and five other US universities are in the top 20. All of the most widely cited patents are held by universities. Companies are still having an impact, though. Genentech is fourth with 421 patents, Millennium Pharmaceuticals is sixth with 272 and Applera is eighth with 195. Europe has lagged behind the US and Japan, but Denmark was noted by the report as a bright spot for patenting development. Biotech patenting has become increasingly focused, in contrast to the early patenting of “speculative, sequence-based inventions.” The hottest patenting areas are antibodies, gene therapy and stem cells.

Source: Financial Times

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