The history of the animal health industry presents significant challenges when tracking patent ownership and innovation activity. Not only does one have to navigate the many large acquisitions that have been made in this space, there are also the rights to patents that may have been licensed from large parent companies, forming animal health divisions along the way.

Since 2009, the 7 largest players in animal health have consolidated down to 4 — Zoetis, Elanco, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck. With the most recent acquisition of Bayer’s veterinary drug unit by Elanco Animal Health, we can’t help but wonder how that impacts the company’s patent portfolio.

By acquiring this division of Bayer, what other patent assets can Elanco utilize? Only the Bayer Animal Health GMBH patents? What about patents assigned to Bayer AG, Bayer IP, or other Bayer affiliated entities?

Below, we’ve created a quick snapshot of acquisitions, like Elanco’s, that create this added layer of complexity.


Table 1: Key acquisitions and other events in the Animal Health Industry 1997 – 2019

To provide context of the overall animal health patent landscape, we searched patents and published patent applications filed in the US, Europe (EP) and the World Intellectual Property Office (WO) specifically related to key animal health concepts (these include animal types, industry jargon, and diseases specific to animals). We further refined the search by looking for patents assigned to the major animal health companies, their historical acquisitions and the human health company parents.

Next we refined the results by the patent assignees, including assignee names from the major mergers and acquisitions that took place over the last 20 years. This includes the yet to be approved acquisition of Bayer’s animal health division by Elanco.

Then we normalized the patent assignees to correspond to the four major animal health companies.


Chart 1: Major Animal Health companies patents published between 2010-2019.

Finally, we focused on only those patents assigned to Bayer and Bayer related entities.


Table 2: Patents in the Animal Health landscape assigned to Bayer related assignees.

A quick scan of this list demonstrates the many name variations to which Bayer assigns its patents. While it appears obvious that assignee names such as Bayer Animal Health GMBH would be affiliated with the animal health assets acquired by Elanco, there is little assurance that patents associated with some of the other assignee names might not also be a part of the deal.

Understanding the patent landscape is critical for any innovative company. But the challenges involved with pairing patent to assignee to owner, then figuring out which companies are working on which technologies, are immense.

IP Checkups built PatentCAM to solve these complexities. Our platform makes the process of categorizing, archiving and monitoring competitive patent information easier, and enables your teams to work more collaboratively. All of which leads to quicker time to commercialization and less risk associated with patent infringement.

Interested in learning more about the animal health IP, or any other industry landscape? If so, sign up for a demo of PatentCAM, and get a handle on your patent management process.