A worldwide analysis of biotech patenting released yesterday by the UK-based intellectual property firm Marks & Clark has revealed that although the US and Japan are still well ahead of Europe as a whole, one European country is advancing rapidly - Denmark.
The study, which analysed biotech patenting by universities, public bodies and companies between 2002 and 2006, singles out Denmark as the outstanding European country for its biotech patenting growth. Danish companies and universities trebled their patent filings from 75 in 2002 to 225 in 2006, and last year Danish companies were the third largest country group in the study after the US and Japan.
Among Europe's companies, Denmark's Novozymes was the highest ranking in the Marks & Clark survey with 162 patent families (a "family" is a group of patents associated with a single invention). Novozymes – the world’s largest and most diversified provider of industrial biotechnology – enjoyed the media spotlight recently when its bioethanol research and production facility in Franklinton N.C. was toured by President George W. Bush, the first sitting US president to officially visit a Danish owned company.
The Marks & Clark report noted that over the five year study period, the biotech sector - both academic and corporate - has become much more mature and less speculative in its patenting. Dr Gareth Williams, one of the co-authors of the report, commented: "This suggests that lessons have been learnt as to what is patentable and, more importantly, what is commercially worthwhile."
The news was reported by Financial Times.