Lab-on-chip are miniaturized devices capable of performing a variety of chemical, biochemical or biological analyzes of small volumes of fluids into a single chip. This is an emerging technology that holds potential to deliver more reliable and faster results at a lower cost than traditional laboratory methods. The aim of this paper is to give an overview of the products and processes related to lab-on-a-chip based on patent documents. We use patents data from Thomson Reuters Derwent Innovations Index and combine bibliometrics and social network analysis techniques. We found 2984 patents related to lab-on-a-chip technology, of which only 221 claims for a new lab-on-a-chip device. Considering the total of patents, our results show a significant increase in patenting from 2000 to 2008. As of 2006, the interest in patenting in several countries has risen. USA and Japan are the two most frequent countries developing related technologies, and the USA and the European Patent Office are the top target of patenting by non-residents. Overall, one can see a wide dispersion of organizations involved in researching and developing this technology. Technological developments are most frequently associated with the areas of physics, performing operations and chemistry. Most of the documents are aimed to protect inventions related to instruments for measuring and testing, and processes or apparatus for separation or mixing. By providing a lab-on-a-chip patent landscape worldwide, our findings can be used to support R&D decisions and foster new partnerships between organizations willing to develop the capabilities needed to enter this market.
Author(s): Flávia Maria Lins Mendes, Kamaiaji Castor, Roseli Monteiro, Fabio Batista Mota, Leonardo Fernandes Moutinho Rocha
Organization(s): Centro de Estudos Estratégicos, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (CEE/Fiocruz)
Source: World Patent Information