Over 5000 new global patent applications relating to Covid-19 have been published since the start of the pandemic.
According to new data fro intellectual property law firm Mathys & Squire, the most common type of patent application relates to Covid testing and diagnosis, accounting for 1,668 patents (33 per cent of the total).
Six per cent of patents related to face masks, while just 55 related to sanitizer and 38 to ventilators/respirators.
Mathys & Squire explain that a key reason why testing is the most common subcategory of Covid patents is the growing acceptance that the virus has become endemic and societies will have to learn to live with it.
As a result, Covid testing has become a viable long-term business model.
The law firm added that many more Covid patent applications can be expected this year, as it can take up to 18 months for the patent publication process to be completed.
So far, China accounts for the highest proportion of Covid patents by some margin, with 2,652 covid patent applications, 52 per cent of the total number. Indian-registered patents were the second-most common, and the US was in third place.
Mathys & Squire explained that China’s dominance so far is partly due the size and global importance of the country’s manufacturing sector. However, other countries are expected to narrow the gap as patent applications continue to be filed.
Juliet Redhouse, partner at Mathys & Squire, commented: “Covid has sparked an unprecedented wave of innovation in the healthcare sector within a very short timeframe.”
“Pharmaceutical companies and scientific researchers worldwide have done remarkable work in identifying diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to the virus. If businesses are going to continue to invest in R&D in the healthcare sector, they need to be able to protect their Intellectual Property.”
“We are likely to see even more patent applications as society finds innovative ways to adapt to the presence of the virus. This is likely to include more innovation in testing and treatments.”