Paul W. Heisey, John L. King, and Kelly Day Rubenstein
United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service.

Over the past 20 years, patenting in agricultural biotechnology has grown even faster than the rapid increase in US utility patents. Private firms, universities, and the federal government all increased patenting in agricultural biotechnology. Universities have increased patenting in agricultural biotechnology particularly rapidly, and they now hold a greater proportion of agricultural biotechnology patents than they do of patents in general. Private firms tend to dominate patenting in plant technologies and molecular level agricultural biotechnology. Differences in patterns of patent production suggest not only differences in agricultural biotechnology research investment but also differences in motivations for patenting.

Key words: agricultural biotechnology, government, patents, patent portfolios, private firms, technology classification, universities.