Study Finds Growth in Beauty-related Nanotechnology Patents

The number of nanotechnology patents related to personal care products has grown 103% in the past seven years, according to an analysis of world patent activity published by the IP Solutions business of Thomson Reuters. The report, "Can Nanotech Unlock the Fountain of Youth?," finds that the beauty industry has made an aggressive foray into nanotechnology, using tiny molecular compounds to improve the performance of creams, sunscreens, shampoos and other personal care products.

The report tracked unique inventions published in patent applications and granted patents from 2003 to 2009, along with trademark data from 2000 through 2009, to identify the companies and areas of nanotechnology innovation showing the sharpest growth in this industry. As a result, the number of nanotechnology patents issued for personal care applications reportedly grew from 181 in 2003 to 367 in 2009. The report also found that while large cosmetic manufacturers were early innovators in the development of nanotech-based beauty products, new innovation in the field is coming from suppliers such as BASF and companies outside of the beauty industry such as Fujifilm. Of the 367 unique inventions filed in 2009, 10 were by Fujifilm, nine were by BASF and seven were by Amorepacific.

In addition, from the year 2000 through the end of 2009, a total of 217 personal care brands that incorporate the term nano were trademarked in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, European Community and WIPO of which the second half of that period (2005–2009) had 575% more registered marks than the first half (2000–2004).

The data in the report was compiled using the Thomson Reuters Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI) database for patent research, and SERION for trademarks to identify global innovation and brand activity in the application of nanotechnology in personal care products.

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