Patent applications of companies in the field of life sciences

Hugverkastofa sent out a report on patent applications by Icelandic bioscience companies, which was presented at the Health Technology Cluster's conference in early February. 

In the report states that 63% of all patent applications of Icelandic bioscience companies in Europe and the USA in the past 11 years are from Össur. This is stated in the new report of the Intellectual Property Office on patent applications by Icelandic life science companies, which was presented at the Health Technology Cluster's meeting this morning. 

The results of the report show that, if you look at the field broadly, Icelandic life science companies do well in protecting inventions through patent applications on the international stage. The number of foreign applications by Icelandic companies has remained fairly stable in recent years, but there are indications that they are decreasing rather than the others. If you take a closer look at the data, however, it becomes clear that Iceland's good position is primarily due to the large number of applications from one company, Össuri. If you look at the number of patent applications in sectors other than health technology, i.e. of the pharmaceutical sector, biotechnology and food science, there are relatively few applications from Iceland compared to the comparison countries. The results therefore provide evidence that Icelandic life sciences companies need to pay more attention to patent protection and that there is an opportunity to advance in the field of life sciences in general in this country. However, it should be noted that there are powerful bioscience companies operating in this country which, due to the nature of their activities, do not apply for many patents.

Borghildur Erlingsdóttir, CEO of the Intellectual Property Institute, says that it is desirable for Iceland to promote the life sciences sector, as it is a high-tech industry that creates great value and pays good wages. "In Denmark, for a long time, there has been systematic work on development in this area, among other things through public policy, which has borne good fruit. Danish companies' exports in this field tripled, for example, in ten years, from 2010-2019. They are now working on a new life science policy and a clear intellectual property policy. In this country, there are good conditions to follow in the footsteps of the Danes and make life sciences a mainstay of the Icelandic economy. For this, among other things, the protection of intellectual property rights must be carefully considered, and this may require increased public support for patent applications by small and medium-sized companies."

The report summarizes information on the number of Icelandic patent applications in the field of life sciences to the European Patent Office EPO and the United States Patent and Trademark Office USPTO 2010-2021. Applications from companies in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, health technology and food science sectors are examined and the number of applications is compared with the number of applications from Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, German, Swiss, American and Chinese companies in the same sectors. The report is based on a Danish report published by the Danish Intellectual Property Office 2020.

The role of the Intellectual Property Office is to deal with issues related to patents, trademarks, design protection, regional marks and other similar rights stipulated in laws, regulations and international agreements on the protection of property rights in the field of industry. The organization provides individuals, organizations and companies with information and advice regarding intellectual property rights in industry and works to make new technology and knowledge contained in registered intellectual property rights available to the public. The Intellectual Property Office comes under the new Ministry of Universities, Innovation and Industry.