The number of patents registered by Israeli research institutions rose by an impressive 20 percent in 2012-2013 compared to the previous two years, the Science, Technology and Space Ministry disclosed on Tuesday.
The field with the most innovations was prescription drugs.
A survey by the ministry’s National Council for Research and Development found that 1,438 patents were registered – 1,000 of them completely new (not registered before in other countries).
The innovations led to the founding of 72 start-up companies here in the past two years.
The patents were registered by university research and development companies, hospitals and state-owned research institutes.
The university R&D companies specialized mostly in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, physics, electronics, electrophysics, chemistry and nanotechnology. In the hospitals, the innovations were mainly in medical technology, while in the government research institutes they were in agriculture and plant genetics.
In 2012 and 2013, 967 applications for new patents were made.
Although the national council welcomed the increase in registered patents, “there still is a major gap between the many academic achievements in Israeli research institutes and the economic and application potential of know-how, Science, Technology and Space Minister Yaakov Peri said. “We are working with a lot of energy to reduce the gaps and increase government investment in applied research.”
While intellectual property in medications is prominent when measured by revenue, national council chairman Prof. Yitzhak Ben-Yisrael said, it must be remembered that the high income from them is from a small number of successful drugs such as Copaxone [for multiple sclerosis] and Exelon for Alzheimer’s disease.
“If we don’t increase our investments to bring about more developments in additional critical fields, industry will suffer harm in the near future and merely stand in place,” he added.
Income from Israeli intellectual property in 2012- 2013 totaled NIS 1,881 million.
Israeli-invented drugs provided 97 percent of this income, compared to 3 percent from innovations in physics, electronics, mathematics and electrooptics.