Increase of Patent Applications for Diagnosis Technology to Cope with Infectious Diseases in Domesticated Animals
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), it is shown that the number of patent applications related to diagnosis technology has steadily increased from 6 cases in 2000 to 24 cases in 2018.
Especially, the number of applications related to technologies for promptly diagnosing the occurrence of infectious diseases in domesticated animals has been increasing among all applications in this area. Since when coping with infectious diseases in domesticated animals it is most important to promptly diagnose any suspected cases, the resulted has been an expansion of research and development in this area.
Technologies for diagnosing infectious diseases in domesticated animals can be largely divided into ① clinical pathological diagnosis such as by checking symptoms or by dissection, ② immunochemical diagnoses by detecting antigens or antibodies contained in body fluids and ③ molecular diagnosis by analyzing DNA of viruses or antigens contained in body fluids or tissues. Among these, immunochemical diagnosis by using an antigen-antibody kit is relatively simple, but accuracy thereby is lower. Meanwhile, molecule diagnosis has higher accuracy by using DNA analysis, but such diagnostic test is complex, and accordingly, both methods are used in diagnosis. Reviewing applications per technology, due to such reasons, immunochemical diagnosis and molecular diagnosis form a substantial part (90.3%) of the number of overall applications.
Reviewing applications related to diagnosing infectious diseases in domesticated animals by type of disease, upon dividing the most recent 10 years into units of 5 years each, in the former part (2009-2013), the ratio of applications related to the diagnosis of avian influenza was highest, but during the most recent 5 years (2014-2018), the ratio of applications related to diagnosis of classical swine fever is shown to have been higher. From 2006 to 2011, mainly avian influenza occurred, but recently classical swine fever has been more prevalent in Asia countries. In particular, since there are no vaccines or medicines for either of these diseases, prompt diagnosis of suspected cases is required, and this can be seen as the main cause of the increasing application ratio.
Reviewing applicants over the most recent 10 years, as the percentage of related domestic applications is 60%, the number of such applications are shown to be lower in this technical field than the overall average for domestic applications of 77.9%. Classifying domestic applicants by type, the ratio of government organizations (47%), schools (36%) and companies (17%) in order is shown, so it appears that research and development is being performed as required in the field, such as in the case of for a quarantine department. Meanwhile, only approximately 3.7% of domestic applications were filed in foreign countries, so it is shown that efforts to try to secure global intellectual property rights have been somewhat insufficient. This is considered to be because a large number of applications filed at the early study stage did not lead to technology commercialization.
The Measurement and Analysis examination team at KIPO stated, “In the case of infectious diseases of domesticated animals such as classical swine fever, prompt diagnosis is at present the best way to prevent the spread of such diseases for which vaccines have not yet been developed” and stressed “Since technologies in the field of diagnosis of infectious diseases in domesticated animals are in the early development stage in Korea, efforts by the government to occupy domestic and foreign intellectual property rights in this field through securing core technologies and commercializing products are required.”