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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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March 31, 2010

Only Three Patents? Really?

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Posted by Derek

Here's an interesting list (PDF) of patent activity for life-science firms in the New England area. What I can't quite work out is how the numbers were generated. For example, it's very strange that Pfizer shows up with 3 patents from last year. A quick look through the databases shows more issued patents than that, although many of the ones I'm seeing are probably continuations-in-part of older parents.

But at any rate, if there's any consistent method of evaluating patents that shows Pfizer with fewer patents over the last few years than the likes of Neurogen and Nitromed - and that's what this one shows - then something's quite odd. I've emailed the people at to ask what's up.

Update: an email from the magazine says that the patent count is supposed to represent just the ones from the New England area. That does clear out a lot of Pfizer ones which originated from Sandwich, St. Louis, and other exotic ports. But I still can't get the numbers to come out right. I looked through about a quarter of the 2009 US patents assigned to Pfizer, and found five or six out of Groton/New London just in that group. I've emailed the magazine again about this. . .

Comments (8) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Patents and IP


1. Greg Hlatky on March 31, 2010 9:21 AM writes...

Where are they getting these figures? When I checked, Pfizer had 97 granted U.S. patents in 2009, resolving themselves into 92 separate patent families. They had 100 basic patent publications in 2009.

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2. petros on March 31, 2010 10:06 AM writes...

I wonder if they've just picked up on one of the company name variations.

Most major companies assign patents to diverse entities

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3. SP on March 31, 2010 11:33 AM writes...

Since it's MassHighTech maybe they're only looking at patents issued to the Cambridge Pfizer site.

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4. weirdo on March 31, 2010 3:30 PM writes...

So, am I to believe that "New London" is not part of "New England"?

Learn something new every day . . . .

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5. waste of time on March 31, 2010 4:18 PM writes...

who cares? waste of time and energy.

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6. medchem23 on April 1, 2010 3:46 AM writes...


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7. Another Kevin on April 1, 2010 9:18 AM writes...

Some Yankees don't think that Connecticut is New England:

"New England: An area of the United States comprising Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, sometimes Connecticut, and never New York."

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8. Kris on April 2, 2010 7:24 PM writes...

Pfizer only files patents with commercial value and keeps the rest as trade secrets. It costs to file patents.

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