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International patenting in ophthalmology: An analysis of its structure and relevance for the development of drugs and diagnostics

Authors Mucke H, Mucke P, Mucke E

Published 30 October 2008 Volume 2009:3 Pages 103—109

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OPTH.S4417

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Hermann AM Mucke, Peter Mucke, Eva Mucke

HM Pharma Consultancy, Vienna, Austria

Abstract: While investigative ophthalmologists access peer-reviewed journals as part of their daily routine, and while they regularly visit scientific congresses, they rarely peruse patent documents as an information source. Among the reasons for this negligence are the incompatibility of patent search algorithms with those known from journal databases, a legalistic and frequently redundant language, and misconceptions about the nature of the patenting system. Here we present key data and analyses from the ophthalmology module of a patent database system that we are developing to address some of these problems. We show that international patent applications consistently reflect developer interest in the ocular drug and diagnostics field; that they are technically focused lead indicators of developments that frequently feature in peer-reviewed patenting only much later; and that patenting targets are well aligned with the unmet therapeutic needs of populations in industrialized countries. Most applications (74%–78% in years since 2006) are supported with experimental data, and most (on average, 80%–90%) faced at least one objection to patentability during their initial stage of examination. In contrast to the peer-reviewed scenery that is highly diverse, the corresponding patenting arena shows a pronounced focus on the United States.

Keywords: ophthalmology, eye diseases, iontophoresis, intellectual property, patents as topic, bibliographic databases

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