Food chemistry covers food’s composition, properties, and chemical changes occurring during handling, processing, and storage. It touches upon food texture, taste, preservation techniques, and, more importantly, its nutrition composition. While not being the topmost booming in terms of patenting activities, food chemistry can potentially represent the vital and profitable niche for many IP law firms, as humanity’s need for safe, healthy, and tasty food will newer stop triggering further innovation in the field.

In this respect, IP Pilot provides you with an analysis of the overall IP-related trends in food chemistry to help evaluate its opportunities and potentials.

Our report, therefore, covers the following topics:

  • What are the most recent worldwide and European filing trends in food chemistry? Who are the critical applicants in the field?
  • Which international and European IP law firms took over most food chemistry-related filings between 2016 and 2020?
  • Which representatives sent and received most of the relevant cases in Europe and worldwide?
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What are the most recent worldwide and European filing trends in food chemistry? Who are the critical applicants in the field?

Overall between 2016 and 2020, most of the applications in food chemistry came from the US, China, Japan, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Korea (see Figure 1). Among the leaders, Korea and China exhibited the most substantial 16% and 5% average increase in the volumes of relevant filings.

The breakdown of European patent applications by country of origin demonstrates that innovators from EPO member states were the most active food chemistry filers in the region. They issued roughly 64% of all cases prosecuted by the European firms in the field in 2020, followed by the US (21%) and Japan (11%). Interestingly, Chinese applicants were not among the top 100 applicants seeking patent protection in Europe despite their overall leadership and growth. One of the possible explanations for such discrepancy could be a Chinese IP-related subsidy program which triggered the rise of domestic rather incremental innovations that newer crossed the Chinese border.

The applicants’ ranking followed the country of origins’ trend. In the considered time frame, Swiss Nestle and Nestec together hold the first position. They were followed by Russian researcher Mr. Kvasenkov, American Monsanto and Pioneer HI-Bred International, and Dutch DSM (see Figure 2). Among the top inventors in food chemistry, Chinese Jiangnan University (19%), Japanese Suntory (16%), and Korean CJ CheilJedang (16%) were on the surge based on the average increase between 2016 and 2020.

Which international and European IP law firms took over most food chemistry-related filings between 2016 and 2020?

Chinese representatives handled the highest number of relevant applications. They accounted for 84% or 88,381 filings between 2016 and 2020 (considering the largest 100 IP law firms that prosecuted most of the cases in food chemistry worldwide). Unsurprisingly, most of those agents dealt with the patent applications on behalf of local applicants.

The two non-Chinese patent law firms in the Top 25 (see Table 1) were American DENTONS and Brazilian DANNEMANN, SIEMSEN, BIGLER & IPANEMA MOREIRA. While DENTONS followed the Chinese pattern and worked with domestic clients in food chemistry, DANNEMANN, SIEMSEN, BIGLER & IPANEMA MOREIRA mostly received cases from international applicants such as Nestle/Nestec, Dow AgroSciences, and Monsanto.

As for the European IP law firms, British agents prosecuted 35% of filings in food chemistry and were followed by German (34%) colleagues.
Among the EPO leaders in the field, agents from Netherland, France, and Italy such as NLO NEDERLANDSCH OCTROOIBUREAU, PLASSERAUD IP, BUGNION S.P.A., V.O. (VEREENIGDE OCTROOIBUREAUX), and ARNOLD & SIEDSMA represented most of the cases for domestic applicants. Nutricia, Roquette, or Carpigiani, for example, were among them. At the same time, British and German patent firms – especially VOSSIUS & PARTNER, BOULT WADE TENNANT, or J A KEMP – made a somewhat more substantial focus on international clients, precisely once filing from the US, Japan, and Korea.

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Which representatives sent and received most of the relevant cases in Europe and worldwide?

When it comes to the case exchange, two critical remarks are in place. Firstly, we take the number of cases instead of filings to estimate the sent and received volumes. By definition, one case contains all the filings that belong to a single patent family and was represented by the same agent. This is a crucial distinction to avoid double counting. Secondly, for the sent work, we show only the cases for which IP-Pilot’s algorithm identified that the representatives and not their clients were responsible for selecting partners in foreign jurisdictions. For the received work, however, we display cases for which both clients and the respective firm prosecuting priority were in charge of choosing agents in the other countries.

Learn more about IP Pilot’s unique algorithm that can reveal the decision-maker behind the international exchange of cases.

Considering the prominent 100 IP law firms sending work in food chemistry, the US agents forwarded 22% of the total amount to the foreign representatives. Japanese (15%), and Korean (13%) colleagues followed American ones in this respect (see Figure 4).

Despite the country-wide statistics, three out of five upper firms in Table 3 were from the Netherlands, including ARNOLD & SIEDSMA, V.O. (VEREENIGDE OCTROOIBUREAUX), and NLO NEDERLANDSCH OCTROOIBUREAU. The Dutch representatives sent a rather substantial share of patent filings from various local food chemistry applicants to the US, China, Canada, and Australia. Italian BUGNION S.P.A. held first place. The firm forwarded applications of its main client in the field to the US, China, and Japan.

As for the receiving firms, among the largest 100, Chinese, Canadian, Australian, and Brazilian agents got 23%, 17%, 13%, and 9% of the total sent amount. DANNEMANN, SIEMSEN, BIGLER & IPANEMA MOREIRA, SMART & BIGGAR, GOWLING WLG, SPRUSON & FERGUSON, SHELSTON IP, and ZHONGZI LAW OFFICE were among the top 5 firms that were most frequently selected by international applicants and representatives to prosecute the food chemistry work in the respective jurisdictions.

Considering the case exchange with the European representatives only, American IP law firms sent the highest share of patent applications in the field to agents from the EPO member states. WILSON SONSINI GOODRICH & ROSATI, COOLEY LLP, FISH & RICHARDSON, and KNOBBE, MARTENS, OLSON & BEAR, LLP were among the leaders.

As for receiving firms, unsurprisingly, German and British prominent representatives such as MEWBURN ELLIS LLP, VOSSIUS & PARTNER, DEHNS, and UEXKÜLL & STOLBERG got the vast majority of the food chemistry cases from abroad.

To sum up, despite the traditional innovation hubs such as America and Asia, inventors from European countries, including the Netherlands and Switzerland, took over the dominant positions in food chemistry.

As for the patent-firms-related trends, Chinese representatives were the leaders in prosecuting food chemistry cases that predominantly originated from domestic clients. In Europe, British and German IP law firms represented the highest portion of relevant applications, most of which were from foreign inventors. Dutch, French, and Italian agents also held the upper positions in the rank by handling a substantial number of patent filings for local clients.

Considering the international case exchange, the US representatives sent the largest number of food chemistry cases abroad. At the same time, patent firms from the Netherlands and Italy top the list. On the receiving side, unsurprisingly, IP law firms from the largest jurisdictions such as China, Brazil, or Canada were most frequently getting relevant applications from foreign colleagues or applicants.

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