Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Using Patent Databases to Identify Chemical Companies’ Business Interests

Information associated with patents can be useful in determining the research, and therefore business interests, of chemical companies.   For example, using the European Patent Office (EPO)’s Espacenet (click here to go to Espacenet) search system, I was able to search for patents filed at the EPO to identify companies interested in a certain business. 

Using Espacenet, I searched for companies with recent interests (reflected by the patents they have filed) in converting sugars (or other carbohydrates) into ethylene (or other alkenes) using enzymes or catalysts.  I found recent patents (filed within the last 5 years) associated with the following 11 companies:  Bio Architecture Lab; Braskem; Codexis; Danisco (now part of DuPont); DSM; Genomatica; Invista Technologies; LS9 (now part of Renewable Energy Group); Novozymes; Shell Oil; and Sued Chemie (now part of Clariant).

This seems a fairly large number of companies filing recent patents on converting carbohydrates into alkenes.  However, given the profit-potential and policy implications of a feasible economic process for doing so, the large number is not surprising.  Using carbohydrates, rather than petroleum, as a source of chemical feed-stocks (e.g. ethylene) potentially offers large revenues as well as public policy benefits.

Filed patents is a good indicator of successful research that a company is producing, and likely related to a company’s business objectives.  Identifying companies, and researchers who can also be associated with the patent applications, should be useful in establishing alert and other information programs used to stay abreast of research and developments for those companies.

Using the European Patent Office’s Espacenet search system is relatively easy.  Please email me if I can be of assistance in your research and analysis needs.  The company list in this blog is not met to be an exhaustive list of companies interested in carbohydrate to alkene conversion using catalysts or enzymes, but only what might be found searching a patent database.

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