Dow Chemical Co. and BASF SE have joined forces to support the Patent Asset Index, a new patent-assessment process that will allow both firms to maximize their many plastics and chemicals patents.
BASF also recently licensed technology from Pasadena, Calif.-based Materia that could allow for the creation of new polymers with standard plastic feedstocks.
The Patent Asset Index was developed by Holger Erst, a professor at WHU, a private college based in Vallendar, Germany. In the 2008 index, Ludwigshafen, Germany-based BASF ranked first overall, based on research and development effectiveness, innovation strength and competitive advantage.
We now have a better method to compare the patent portfolios of global companies even more accurately, Andreas Kreimeyer, BASF research executive director, said in an Oct. 12 news release.
Midland, Mich.-based Dow ranked first in the index's competitive impact category. Dow also ranked first in technology relevance, because the firm's patents were most cited in patents filed by other companies.
The index not only allows a company to benchmark itself against its peers, but also provides an accurate, overall view of the impact and efficiency of an enterprise's investment in innovation, William Banholzer, Dow chief technology officer, said in the release.
Dow spokesman Bob Plishka added that the index's assessment methods are more in line with Dow's goals to generate patent-protected sales and to generate margin for the company.
Dow's 2009 R&D budget of $1.6 billion is more than the combined R&D budgets of the top 25 U.S. universities, Plishka said. In 2009, Dow's R&D budget also will exceed its capital expenditures budget for the first time in the firm's history, he added.
No terms were disclosed in BASF's deal with Materia. Materia's metathesis catalysts can be used with ethylene and propylene olefins to make carbon bonds in a process that creates reduced byproducts and hazardous waste.
Materia's catalysts include those developed by 2005 Nobel Prize winner Robert Grubbs of the California Institute of Technology. To date, Materia has used metathesis to make a new type of thermoset resin. Materials firm Lanxess AG of Leverkusen, Germany, also has used the technology to make a new form of synthetic rubber.
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