By Miroslav Djuric, DVM, Editor of Animal Breeding Abstracts
According to a recent report by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), patenting activity in the field of animal genetics is focusing on medical and pharmaceutical markets, rather than animal products for human nutrition.
The Patent Landscape Report on Animal Genetic Resources was presented at the 8th session of the Intergovernmental Technical Group on Animal Genetic Resources at FAO in Rome on 27 November 2014. This report is the first ever large-scale quantitative analysis, grouping data on patenting activity involving livestock animals, and is the outcome of WIPO’s collaboration with the Animal Genetic Resources Branch of FAO.
More than 14 million patent documents on 17 animal species and subspecies, central to global agriculture and food security were analysed, spanning the period between 1976 and 2013.
A quantitative indicator of trends in patent activity for animal genetic resources has been developed - it can be updated and refined over time to respond to policy needs. The indicator shows that patenting in the area of animal genetic resources for food and agriculture peaked in 2001 and has been declining since then. It is speculated that this decline may be linked to more-restrictive patent laws and lagging consumer demand for genetically modified animals.