Published on June 28, 2011
The international patent classification (IPC) is a hierarchical patent classification and updated on a regular basis by a committee of experts and assigned by patent examiners to patent applications. Level 3 IPC codes can be used as a proxy for the industrial application areas of technology developments covered in patent filings. An understanding of IPC codes can help guide policy-makers, investors, companies and others in relation to technology deployment trends.
The industrial application areas represented by IPC codes are graphically illustrated by CambridgeIP in the below pie chart. A61K is a widely used IPC level 3 for a wide range of medical and pharmaceutical technologies. C12N and C12Q are IPC level 3 focusing on the microorganism related preparation, measuring and testing processes. C07K is an IPC level 3 covering biopharmaceutical applications of recombinant proteins.
|A61K||PREPARATIONS FOR MEDICAL, DENTAL, OR TOILET PURPOSES;|
|C12N||MICRO-ORGANISMS OR ENZYMES; COMPOSITIONS THEREOF; PROPAGATING, PRESERVING, OR MAINTAINING MICRO-ORGANISMS; MUTATION OR GENETIC ENGINEERING; CULTURE MEDIA;|
|C12Q||MEASURING OR TESTING PROCESSES INVOLVING ENZYMES OR MICRO-ORGANISMS; COMPOSITIONS OR TEST PAPERS THEREFOR; PROCESSES OF PREPARING SUCH COMPOSITIONS; CONDITION-RESPONSIVE CONTROL IN MICROBIOLOGICAL OR ENZYMOLOGICAL PROCESSES;|
|A61P||THERAPEUTIC ACTIVITY OF CHEMICAL COMPOUNDS OR MEDICINAL PREPARATIONS;|
Distribution of IPC codes of PIP-HN
The figure below focuses on the top four application IPCs in WIPO’s PIP dataset as analysed by CambridgeIP.
The marked increase observed could be linked to the outbreak of avian influenza with pathogenic strain H5N1 since 2003, and a consequent increase in R&D efforts around the world. ‘Bird flu’ influenza reached Europe in 2005, and the Middle East as well as Africa in 2006. As patent applications may be unpublished for 18+ months this could explain that there may be a lag between events, increased R&D efforts and consequent number of reported patents observed.
We observe a significant decrease in reported patents in the C07K area (applications of recombinant proteins) starting from 2005, possibly indicating increased maturity of relevant process related technologies.