About one-fifth of Icelandic patent applications are related to the fisheries industry

Pétur Vilhjálmsson

Head of Production

When analysed by technical field, the Icelandic fisheries industry and derived industries account for a significant part of patent activity in Iceland and more than one-fifth of Icelandic patent applications in the years 2010-2020 were connected with the fisheries industry. This is stated in an analysis made by the ISIPO and the Nordic Patent Institute (NPI) at the end of 2020.

The principal findings of the analysis are as follows:

  • More than one-fifth of Icelandic patenta pplications in the years 2010-2020 were connected with the fisheries industry.
  • Since 2010, a total of 31 Icelandic parties have applied for patents in Iceland that were connected with the fisheries industry, and 9 of these parties submitted more than two applications.
  • More than half of Icelandic patents that are valid in this country are connected with the fisheries industry.
  • There is a total of 21 Icelandic holders of fisheries-related patents, of which only 5 hold more than two patents.
  • Only German companies hold more fisheries-related patents in this country than Icelandic parties do.
  • The subject of applications has changed in the last few years. Inventions connected with fishing and processing still account for the largest part, although derived products and fish farming are conspicuously frequent among the subjects of new applications.
  • The extent of Icelandic applications abroad are in good balance with applications in this country, both with regard to the number and subject of applications.

The ISIPO was assisted by experts from the NPI in the analysis, and the NPI contributed the technical categories included in the search and carried it out in foreign databases. The ISIPO performed a comparable analysis of applications and patents in the Office's databases.

Applications 2010-2020

The ISIPO has received a total of 492 Icelandic patent applications since the beginning of the year 2010. Of these applications, 105 are connected with the fisheries industry, accounting for about 21%. Applications in the field of fishery and processing stand out as the most common during this period, whereas applications for patents in connection with derived products and inventions in connection with fish farming have been more conspicuous these last few years. Of the aforesaid 105 applications, only nine have resulted in patents in this country in a direct manner, but in addition to them a considerable number of applications have become validated European patents here.

Patents in Iceland

Currently the number of patents valid in Iceland are about 8,750 in total. Of these, 93 are owned by Icelandic parties. Among the Icelandic patents 52 are connected with the fisheries industry, i.e. 56% of them. A total of 231 patents connected with the fisheries industry are valid in this country, so the Icelandic patents represent about 23%. Most fisheries-related patents in this country are owned by German parties, which means that Iceland is in second place in this regard.

When the fisheries-related patents that are valid in Iceland are examined with regard to their year of issue, it can be seen that a large majority of the patents was granted in this country in the last five years, which applies to both the Icelandic and the foreign patents. This situation is not that different from what is apparent when patents are considered in general, as they have to be maintained each year and as the years go by the patents that are maintained decrease in number.

The nature of patents connected with the fisheries industry has altered significantly in recent years. Among older patents fishing and processing feature prominently whereas about 40% of the newest patents now concern the fields of fish farming and derived products.

Owners of applications and patents

As has been noted, Icelandic parties have submitted 105 applications connected with the fisheries industry since 2010. Only 50 of these applications have been published and therefore the ISIPO cannot account for the names of the applicants behind 55 applications. The following table shows the names of the parties that own patents connected with the fisheries industry in this country and the number of patents they hold. In addition, the table contains a list of the number of published applications owned by the same parties and others who have not been granted patents for their inventions here.

Icelandic applications and patents abroad

Since the year 2010, Icelandic companies have submitted at least 124 applications abroad for patents in connection with the fisheries industry and referred to the aforesaid Icelandic applications (priority). A notable majority of the applications during this period are in the field of fishing and processing, although fish farming and derived products account for a substantial and growing percentage. In that regard the numbers are quite consistent with the Icelandic application statistics, as previously described.

An overall search for patent documents (patent families) on a global scale, without consideration of the year of application, reveal that Icelandic companies have tended to apply mostly in Iceland’s chief market areas, i.e. in the United States and Europe, in addition to which Icelandic applications have been submitted to a large extent in Australia and Canada among other countries.


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