A technologically advanced field with attractive growth prospects
The market for dentistry equipment and services in Israel is relatively small, yet technologically advanced and growing. Today the market serves some 9,600 dentists in Israel, up from 4,900 in 2002, representing a compound annual growth rate of 16%. In general the life sciences market has grown rapidly, with over 900 companies in the field today, up from a mere 186 in 1996. Of the total, some 60 companies manufacture a variety of dental supplies and equipment, including dental labs and implants, X-rays, attachments, polishers, mixers, bur sets and diamond instruments.
Value in the R&D pipeline
Israeli dental equipment manufacturers have been able to leverage the value of their innovations and intellectual property in the marketplace with notable success. Israeli life science companies in general have witnessed impressive returns via IPOs, mergers and acquisitions. Approximately 35 life science companies went public on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) over the past 3 years, and approximately 15 Israeli companies have gone public on foreign exchanges, mainly in the US. According to a survey by the IVC Research Center in May 2007, the value of M&A’s and IPO’s in Israeli life science companies totaled $736 million in 2006.
The role of IP in the value chain
Accordingly, one sees continued growth in the market for patent applications in the field of dentistry, enabling companies to leverage the value of their R&D investments through strategic IP planning and execution. Between 1992 and 2005, dentistry applications represented some 20% of the total for medical device patent applications (see Table 1 below, category A61C). In 2005, that number represented 10% of the total applications for medical device patents, while 23% for applications represented preparations for medical, dental or toiletry purposes (A61K). One can also note a general trend in which sub-classifications of patent registrations have become increasingly populated, driven by diagnostic and surgical equipment (A61B, 29% of 2005 total) and medical/dental/toiletry preparations (A61K, 23% of 2005 total).
Table 1. Growth in patent applications for dentistry and surgical application
A61 = medical or vetinary science; hygiene
A61B = diagnosis; surgery; identification
A61C = dentistry; oral or dental hygiene
A61F = filters; prosthesis; treatment or protection of eyes, ears; bandages; first aid kits
A61K = preparations for medical, dental or toiletry purposes
Source: Israel Patent Authority, Statistical Database, www.ipa.gov.il
According to the Israeli Life Science Industry (ILSI), the country’s total number of patents granted in the medical device area positions it in first place worldwide in patents per capita, and seventh in absolute number of patents (see Table 2 below). Life science patents in Israel represent 28.3% of the total number of patents registered, compared to average 17.9% worldwide (see note 1).
Table 2. Medical device patents per million capita
A number of factors contribute to Israel’s attractiveness as a destination for dentistry technologies. With 50 to 60 new companies being formed each year, 41% of all life sciences companies operating in Israel today were established during the last 5 years. In a relatively short period of time, upwards of 34% of these companies has already begun to generate revenue (see note 2). Israel presents an attractive destination for investment due to its worldwide leadership in availability of engineers and scientists (IMD 2007), world renown academic research institutes such as the Technion and Weitzmann Institute, and a unique governmental structure supporting start-up enterprises. The country’s GDP grew from NIS 480 Billion in 2001 to NIS 570 Billion in 2006 (4.4% CAGR), with academic R&D expenditures representing 4.6% percent of GDP compared to 3.5% for Europe and 3.0% for Japan.
Dr. Eyal Bressler & Co. – Your partner in IP strategy
Dr. Eyal Bressler & Co. is a boutique intellectual property firm, focused on a select number of strategic industries and practice areas including medical devices and dental equipment. Based in Israel, the firm commands over 10% of the local market for medical device patents and is rapidly growing. As such, a large percentage of new medical device technologies that are registered in Israel are registered through our office, strengthening the firm’s capacity in medical device patent prosecution and litigation. Our staff consists of talented scientists and engineers who understand the legal dynamics and implications of their client’s activities.
We consistently help our clients develop effective patent prosecution strategies aimed at securing and maximizing the benefits of their new technologies throughout the R&D lifecycle. Dental technologies in which the firm has experience in include dental implants, periodontal drug delivery, toothbrush design, patient stress reduction, and dental tools.