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|
|Industrial Research Limited||374||66||5||29|
|Carter Holt Harvey||186||56||9||35|
|Genesis R&D Corp||45||36||11||56|
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.