Patents and InventionsUniversität Heidelberg is One of the Driving Forces in Innovations to Fight Cancer

1 February 2024

Among the “Top 3” of universities and public research centres in Germany for patents and inventions

In cancer research, Heidelberg University is one of the driving forces in Germany in terms of patents and inventions to fight cancer. Among universities and public research centres, Ruperto Carola takes third place after the Max Planck Society and the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. That has emerged from an up-to-date study by the European Patent Office (EPO). It shows that Germany is the leading country in innovations in this area in Europe and takes fourth place at the international level.

The European Patent Office has published a new study on patents and innovations to fight cancer in the run-up to World Cancer Day on 4 February. The study examines the technological progress in this field. In relation to the years from 2002 to 2021, Germany accounts for around 23 percent of European patent applicants – with a total of 9,375 international patent families (IPFs) in this period. A patent family is a group of patent applications covering the same or similar technical content. 

In the last 20 years, says the EPO, Germany has maintained its top European position as a leading country for innovations, even though the number of IPFs filed annually has fallen slightly. According to the European Patent Office, German patent applicants show the most technological specialisation in the field of modern image processing techniques. But Germany also has great expertise in areas of treatment such as vaccinations and brachytherapy, as well as in planning radiotherapy.

The findings of the study also show that, in the last two decades, universities and public research centres have played an increasingly significant role in cancer innovations – alongside companies as top patent applicants. For Germany, the leading academic players in innovations to fight cancer are the Max Planck Society and the German Cancer Research Center, as well as Heidelberg University.

The new EPO study “Patents and Innovation against Cancer” provides decision-makers and inventers with insights into global patenting activities in the field of cancer technologies. It describes the areas in which the battle against cancer has recently made considerable progress. The study is supplemented by a cost-free online platform. This simplifies access to cancer technologies and gives detailed information on the content of the patents.

ScienceValue Heidelberg GmbH (SVH) is responsible for converting Heidelberg University’s research results into future products, and for the transfer of newly developed technologies. A patent exploitation agency and wholly owned subsidiary of Ruperto Carola, SVH operates at the interface between academic research and industrial development, providing services for university and university-related institutions.