Article InformationEdit

Title: A trend analysis of EPO patents in the food sector

Author(s): Marjolein van der Klauw and Jaap Veldkamp

Affiliation: Utrecht University

Presented At: STiS 2008

Primary Topic Area: Innovation Studies


The European Union Framework Programs are meant to increase the innovativeness of its member states. One of the measures for innovativeness is patent analysis and the goal of this study is twofold: on the one hand we analyze trends in patent applications and gratifications and consider differences between EU countries and the USA. On the other hand, we asses the influence of the Framework Program and other EU policies on the patent trend charts.

The analysis is done on two levels: all patents in general and patents in de food sector. Therefore a 1.6 million records database is used that covers EPO patents in the period 1977-2003. The results of the study are surprising. On the one hand an almost linear graph represents a continuous increase in applications for patents and therefore assumes that innovation policy does lead to more patents and innovative performance. On the other hand from 1993 a sharp decline in granted patents took place, completely contradicting the purposes of the EU to become a powerful innovative player.

A literature study brought about that the large decline in granted patents is due to differences in legislation on biotechnology patents. In 1993 Recommendation 1213 by the EU Parliament Assembly resulted in the fact that these patents were no longer granted until 1999. The conclusions can be drawn that biotechnology is an enormous player in the patent industry, but that a lack of judicial support might lead to a loss of the economic position of the European Union.

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