Dario G. Frisio, Giovanni Ferrazzi, Vera Ventura, & Mauro Vigani
Università degli Studi di Milano

We provide an in-depth analysis of biotechnology patents filed in the European Patent Office (EPO) and US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), building a comprehensive dataset of more than 7,000 patents for the period 2002 through 2009. Results show a larger number of patents filed with the USPTO than the EPO. The private sector is more market oriented and owns the majority of the intellectual property (IP) rights, while public research is mainly focused on innovations useful in specific agricultural landscapes. European research centers are more interested in obtaining IP protection in the United States. In the EPO, the public sector specializes in the categories of ‘bioprocesses DNA scale,’ ‘pharmaceutical,’ ‘male sterility,’ and ‘yield.’ Our results provide a basis for broader questions of science policy in agriculture, public-sector IP policies, and the design of more effective IP management strategies to maximize the exploitation of patented technologies in this industry.

Key words: Agbiotech, intellectual property (IP), patents, public research.