2020/33 LEM Working Paper Series

Patent Toxicity

Gianluca Biggi, Elisa Giuliani and Arianna Martinelli
Patents; computational toxicology; chemical inventions.

  JEL Classifications
O3, L65
A toxic-free world is one of the goals of the European Green Deal and a key objective of the World Health Organization Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals. However, although use of some toxic chemicals is being banned, others continue to be developed. We consider this motivation for a closer examination of the toxicity of chemical inventions. We combine patent analysis with computational toxicology and develop a methodological roadmap to measure patent toxicity, that is, the extent to which a patent includes “components” (or compounds) that are toxic to humans and/or the environment. To illustrate our proposed methodology, we analyse the toxicity of ten well-known hazardous chemicals. The measurement of patent toxicity opens up interesting avenues for future research and, potentially, has some strong policy implications.
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