Covid sparks surge in pandemic related patents with over 5,000 new applications

Mathys & Squire has featured in an article published by City A.M. relating to new data* around global patent applications relating to Covid-19 that have been published since the start of the pandemic. Click here to read the article in City A.M.

An extended version of the article is available below and has also been published by The Patent Lawyer.


The most common type of patent application relates to Covid testing and diagnosis, accounting for 1,668 patents (33% of the total 5,070 applications). 325 patents related to face masks (6%), while just 55 related to sanitizer and 38 to ventilators/respirators.

Mathys & Squire says a key reason why testing is the most common subcategory of Covid patents is the growing acceptance that the virus has become endemic and societies will have to learn to live with it. As a result, Covid testing has become a viable long-term business model.

The law firm says many more Covid patent applications can be expected next year, as it can take up to 18 months for the patent publication process to be completed.

So far, China accounts for the highest proportion of Covid patents by some margin, with 2,652 covid patent applications, 52% of the total number. Indian-registered patents were the second-most common, with 388, and the US was in third place with 383 (7.7% and 7.6%, respectively).

Mathys & Squire say China’s dominance so far is partly due the size and global importance of the country’s manufacturing sector. However, other countries are expected to narrow the gap as patent applications continue to be filed.

Juliet Redhouse, Partner at Mathys & Squire, says: “Covid has sparked an unprecedented wave of innovation in the healthcare sector within a very short timeframe.”

“Pharmaceutical companies and scientific researchers worldwide have done remarkable work in identifying diagnostic and therapeutic solutions to the virus. If businesses are going to continue to invest in R&D in the healthcare sector, they need to be able to protect their intellectual property.”

“We are likely to see even more patent applications as society finds innovative ways to adapt to the presence of the virus. This is likely to include more innovation in testing and treatments.”

*Data covers the period from 01.10.20 to 30.09.21 | Source: World Intellectual Property Office