Top patenting organisations in New Zealand: some stats

By Shaun Hendy 22/01/2010 4

In a post a few weeks ago, there was a discussion on the value of patents. Sciblogs reader Bruce Hamilton pointed out that the value of an abandoned patent could simply be as an output for a funding agency. Could it be then the requirements of funding agencies for outputs is driving patenting activities? Bruce has put together a selection of statistics from IPONZ looking at patenting activity in some of New Zealand’s research organisations, both public and private. Bruce did not intend the list below to be exhaustive, but he has covered a selection of Universities, CRIs, large private companies and smaller start-ups. It’s very interesting to see who some of our top patenting organisations are, and how many of them have patents in progress.

Number Aborted (%) In Progress (%) Completed (%)
Fisher & Paykel 424 60 2 38
Uniservices 388 66 14 21
Industrial Research Limited 374 66 5 29
Agresearch 210 55 12 33
Fletcher 201 41 9 50
Carter Holt Harvey 186 56 9 35
Fonterra 143 43 17 39
Otago University 100 77 4 19
Gallagher Group 83 43 12 48
Massey University 76 55 8 37
Genesis R&D Corp 45 36 11 56
IGNS 37 58 6 36
Otago Innovation 18 50 17 33
Syft Technologies 15 57 0 43
Blis Technologies 13 64 0 36

Aborted = Abandoned + Voided Pre-acceptance
In Progress = Filed, Examination, Accepted
Completed = Granted, Expired or Not Renewed.

At least in this data set, it does look like public organisations abort more of their patents than their private counterparts. However, public research organisations are charged with disseminating their research findings through journal articles or presentations at scientific conferences. Once a piece of research has entered the public domain, it can no longer be patented, so public research organisations may chose to protect their IP by filing a provisional patent prior to publishing or presenting their work. This gives them the option of proceeding with a full patent within the next year should they choose to do so, while allowing them to publish their work. Private research organisations, under less pressure to publish, can simply choose to not release their findings while they decide whether a piece of work is worth the expense of filling a full patent.

Thanks to Bruce for taking the time to extract this interesting data.

4 Responses to “Top patenting organisations in New Zealand: some stats”

  • Hi Brent – good point. I am fairly sure it is the total number of applications submitted to IPONZ by that organisation. Bruce may want to confirm this.

  • It’s the number of entries obtained when I searched the “owner name” field using the corporate name, minus any obvious false positives or duplicates. This simply used the free search facility available at the site, and results were cut and pasted into Excel for categorisation using the Patent Office codes..

    Note that these numbers are approximate, because of various linkages within the database, as well as possibly missing some IP owned by subsidiaries. Obviously, some research providers will be working on behalf of firms, and patents will be issued to their clients, however I didn’t want to spend time tracing individual inventor affiliations, but the database seemed to capture some of those as well anyway.

    Selection of entities was based solely on my recollection of entity names that I recalled during the search, and may miss some of the larger or more innovative firms. As I noted in the earlier thread, I’m not very knowledgeable about patents, and I could have made a glaringly-obvious mistake, but the results matched my expectations, so I stopped :-)..

  • Oops, to clarify further, that broad search will capture all categories, which were then grouped into Aborted, In progress, and Completed. The submission/patent ( or database? ) code number seems to stay constant, and only the status code changes as the application proceeds..