Frequency of disclosure of federal funding in patents, 2000 to 2011
Following our filing of a march-in petition with the NIH, seeking a rule that government funded inventions be no more expensive in the United States than in other high income countries, I was asked about the extent of federal funding of patented inventions.
While patent owners are required to report federal funding in patent applications, there is little policing of this obligation, leading to a systematic under-reporting. Also, not all funding that contributed to the development of an invention is required to be disclosed. For example, if researcher A advances the science to point A, but another advances the science to point B, the second researcher is under no obligation to make a disclosure of federal funds received by researcher A.
Looking only at what is declared on the patent, USPTO query tools make it possible to identify patents that include a disclosure of government interests (GOVT/government) or ownership by a federal agency (AN/”United States of America”).
For the most recent 11 full years of data, from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2011, the USPTO reports having issued 2,319,278 patents.
Of these patents, 49,412, or 2.1 percent, report either a disclosure of US government interests (43,569), ownership by the United States of America (10,208), or some combination of both (4,365).
Health related patents
Among the 43,569 patents that disclose government rights, 8,568 patents explicitly identify the National Institutes of Health, but many other patents identify the funding agency by its initials, or list individual Institutes in the NIH, either by initials or by their own name, such as the NIAID, or NCI, or the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, to give a few examples. Other health related funding disclosures include the DHHS, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Science Foundation, various defense institutions or the Department of Energy (quite important in the health genomics area), among other federal funding agencies.
Here are a few additional snapshots of the data, broken down by key words on patent claims (ACLM).
|Search Term||Patents Granted 2000 – 2011||Patents with government interest or ownership in patent||Percent|
|human immunodeficiency virus OR HIV||3237||247||8%|
|progressive supranuclear palsy||48||4||8%|
|Patent classes||Patents, 2000 – 2011||Patents w/ government interest or ownership||Percent|
|423 Chemistry of inorganic compound||11454||894||7.8%|
|424 Drug, bio-affecting and body treating compositions||44257||4574||10.3%|
|430 Chemistry: Radiation imagery chemistry: process, composition, or product thereof||23205||321||1.4%|
|435 Chemistry: molecular biology and microbiology||64814||9873||15.2%|
|436 Chemistry: analytical and immunological testing||14470||1915||13.2%|
|514 Drug, bio-affecting and body treating compositions||57263||4328||7.6%|
|530 Chemistry: natural resins or derivatives; peptides or proteins; lignins or reaction products thereof||26341||4280||16.2%|
|601 Surgery: kinesitherapy||2378||39||1.6%|
|930 Peptide or protean sequence||344||45||13.1%|