Polylactic acid (PLA) is at present one of the most promising biodegradable polymers with wide applications.
Remarkable properties like high transparency, stiffness, twist retention, low temperature heat sealing ability,
good barrier properties and relatively cheaper price make PLA suitable for packaging foods like beverages,
dairy products, fruits, vegetables, snacks, meat, fish products and pet foods.
This study presents an overview of granted patents or published patent applications in the area of biodegradable
polymers in the last decade. Our patent research based on key words and classification codes has identified the
top patent filers, independent inventors as well as probable research collaborations in this area during the period
2000 – 2010.
Mitsubishi Plastics, Toray Industries, Dai Nippon Printing and Novamont are the major
patent filers in this area. There are considerable patent filings from independent inventors as well.
Patent filing trends
Patent filing activity in this area, particularly from independent inventors has been on the rise
during the last four years. Maximum patent activity has been observed in 2006.
The filing from independent inventors has also been on the rise. Coca-Cola has been consistently
filing patents in this area. Dai Nippon is a recent entrant but has been aggressive.
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Patenting trends based on the type of food packaged
The patent filing activity in the area of Polylactic acid in food packaging has been consistently
increasing. Notably, there are several patents filed on packaging of drinks/ beverages.
The major focus of Unitika has been on development of packaging for drinks/ beverages.
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