Biotech/Pharma Patent Issuances Up, Applications Down in 2011

by McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP

[author: Donald Zuhn]

Earlier this year, the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) released its 29th annual list of the top 300 organizations receiving U.S. patents.  As in past years, Patent Docs used the IPO's list of top patent holders to compile a list of the top life sciences companies and organizations receiving U.S. patents in 2011 (see "IPO Releases List of Top 300 Patent Holders for 2011").  As noted in the IPO's Top 300 list, 244,430 patents were issued in 2011, which constituted a 4.6% increase over the 233,127 patents that issued in 2010.  While the number of biotech/pharma patents also increased in 2011, the jump was not quite as steep, with 19,138 biotech/pharma patents being issued in 2011 as compared with the 18,900 biotech/pharma patents that issued in 2010 (1.3% increase).

This increase in biotech/pharma patents is shown in the chart below, which also shows the number of biotech/pharma patents that issued between 2002 and 2012 (blue bars, left axis) and the number of biotech/pharma applications that published (red line, right axis) over this same time frame (note: figures for 2012 are projected based on issuances and publications through today).

BioPharm Patents & Applications 2002-2012
In the chart above, the blue bars represent the number of patents that issued in the specified year and which were designated as belonging to the following classes (each having an assigned art unit in Technology Center 1600, which encompasses biotechnology and organic chemistry):  260 (Chemistry of Carbon Compounds), 424 (Drug, Bio-Affecting and Body Treating Compositions), 435 (Chemistry: Molecular Biology and Microbiology), 436 (Chemistry: Analytical and Immunological Testing), 504 (Plant Protecting and Regulating Compositions), 506 (Combinatorial Chemistry Technology: Method, Library, Apparatus), 514 (Drug, Bio-Affecting and Body Treating Compositions), 518 (Chemistry: Fischer-Tropsch Processes; or Purification or Recovery of Products Thereof), 530 (Chemistry: Natural Resins or Derivatives; Peptides or Proteins; Lignins or Reaction Products Thereof), 532, 534, 536, 540, 546, 548, 549, 552, 554, 556, 558, 560, 562, 564, 568, 570 (Organic Compounds -- Part of the Class 532-570 Series), 730 (Data Processing: Structural Design, Modeling, Simulation, And Emulation), 800 (Multicellular Living Organisms and Unmodified Parts Thereof and Related Processes), and/or 930 (Peptide or Protein Sequence), 987 (Organic Compounds Containing a Bi, Sb, As, or P Atom or Containing a Metal Atom of the 6th to 8th Group of the Periodic System).  The red line represents the number of patent applications designated as belonging to one of the above classes that published in the specified year (because the AIPA mandated publication of certain U.S. applications filed after November 28, 2000, only 22,097 biotech/pharma applications were published in 2002).

If the numbers of patents issued and applications published to date hold up during the remainder of the year, biotech/pharma patent issuances would be expected to rise to 20,087 in 2012.  However, published biotech/pharma applications would be expected to drop from 37,125 in 2011 to 32,738.  The expected increase in issued biotech/pharma patents and corresponding decrease in published biotech/pharma applications would continue a trend that began in 2010.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.