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Icelandic patent applications in the field of life sciences 2010-2021

The Intellectual Property Office's new report on patent applications by Icelandic life science companies was presented at the Iceland Health Tech Cluster's monthly meeting this morning.

The results of the report show that Icelandic life science companies do well in protecting inventions through patent applications on the international stage. The number of foreign applications by Icelandic companies has remained fairly stable in recent years, but there are indications that they are decreasing. 63% of all Icelandic patent applications of life sciences companies in Europe and the United States for the past 11 years are from Össur. If you look at the number of patent applications within the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and food science sectors, there are fewer applications from Iceland compared to the comparison countries. The results therefore provide evidence that Icelandic life sciences companies need to pay more attention to patent protection and that there is an opportunity to advance in the field of life sciences in general in this country. However, it should be noted that there are prominent life science companies operating in Iceland which, due to the nature of their activities, do not apply for patents much. Questions can also be raised about the motivation of the university community for patent applications and the support of the public sector and various grant funds for innovative companies that are at the crossroads of applying for patents.

The largest Icelandic applicants for patents in the field of life sciences with USIPO and EPO.
The largest Icelandic applicants for patents in the field of life sciences with USIPO and EPO.

Borghildur Erlingsdóttir, CEO of the Intellectual Property Office, says that it is desirable for Iceland to promote the life sciences sector, as it is a high-tech industry that creates great value and pays good wages. "In Denmark, for a long time, there has been systematic work on development in this area, among other things through public policy, which has borne good fruit. Danish companies' exports in this field tripled, e.g. in ten years, from 2010-2019. They are now working on a new life science policy and a clear intellectual property policy. In Iceland, there are good conditions to follow in the footsteps of the Danes and make life sciences a mainstay of the Icelandic economy. This requires, among other things, careful attention to the protection of intellectual property rights, and possibly increased public support for patent applications by small and medium-sized companies."


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