The analysis of patent activity is one methodology used for technological monitoring. In this paper, the activity of biotechnology-related patents in Brazil were analyzed through 30 International Patent Classification (IPC) codes published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). We developed a program to analyse the dynamics of the major patent applicants, countries and IPC codes extracted from the Brazilian Patent Office (INPI) database. We also identified Brazilian patent applicants who tried to expand protection abroad via the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). We had access to all patents published online at the INPI from 1975 to July 2010, including 9,791 biotechnology patent applications in Brazil, and 163 PCTs published online at World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) from 1997 to December 2010. To our knowledge, there are no other online reports of biotechnology patents previous to the years analyzed here. Most of the biotechnology patents filed in the INPI (10.9%) concerned measuring or testing processes involving nucleic acids. The second and third places belonged to patents involving agro-technologies (recombinant DNA technology for plant cells and new flowering plants, i.e. angiosperms, or processes for obtaining them, and reproduction of flowering plants by tissue culture techniques). The majority of patents (87.2%) were filed by nonresidents, with USA being responsible for 51.7% of all biotechnology patents deposited in Brazil. Analyzing the resident applicants per region, we found a hub in the southeast region of Brazil. Among the resident applicants for biotechnology patents filed in the INPI, 43.5% were from São Paulo, 18.3% were from Rio de Janeiro, and 9.7% were from Minas Gerais. Pfizer, Novartis, and Sanofi were the largest applicants in Brazil, with 339, 288, and 245 biotechnology patents filed, respectively. For residents, the largest applicant was the governmental institution FIOCRUZ (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation), which filed 69 biotechnology patents within the period analyzed. The first biotechnology patent applications via PCT were submitted by Brazilians in 1997, with 3 from UFMG (university), 2 from individuals, and 1 from EMBRAPA (research institute).
Keywords: Brazil, patent, biotechnology, PCT, INPI, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), agro-technologies, angiosperms, FIOCRUZ (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation)