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The global stem cell patent landscape: implications for efficient technology transfer and commercial development

Characteristics of the complex and growing stem cell patent landscape indicate strategies by which public sector research institutions could improve the efficiency of intellectual property agreements and technology transfers in stem cells.

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Figure 1: A core collection of published patent documents constructed to encompass all stem cell related technologies contains 10,681 applications and granted patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office, the European Patent Office and WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) filing system.
Figure 2: The core collection of US, EPO and PCT documents expanded to include the full 'patent family' for each document: the corresponding patent filing made in any of 60 additional countries on the same invention.
Figure 3: National contributions to the global stock of stem cell inventions indicated by the distribution by country of the first inventor listed and the first assignee listed in the 4,265 PCT applications in the core collection of stem cell documents identified in this study.
Figure 4: The distribution of ownership between private sector and public sector entities of granted US patents over stem cell technologies (a), and a breakdown of their ownership (b).


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This study was a collaborative project of CIP in Göteborg, Sweden and PIPRA in Davis, California. The authors thank B. Heiden, A. Bennet, B. Edgar, W. Streitz and F. Fredh for insights and comments.

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Bergman, K., Graff, G. The global stem cell patent landscape: implications for efficient technology transfer and commercial development. Nat Biotechnol 25, 419–424 (2007).

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