Biological technology allows us to invent new medical approaches, create effective food production methods and reserves and develop new materials for industrial production. There is a diversity of biological technology types, and different technologies have different priorities for invention. This study examines the factors that are important for the invention of biology-related technologies in Japan using patent application data and a decomposition analysis framework. As the results show, patent applications related to biochemistry and biotechnology increased until 1995 because of the expanded scale of R & D activities and the high priority assigned to biological technology. However, the number of patent applications stagnated after 1995, because the importance of biochemistry, especially waste-gas treatment technologies, decreased. Additionally, patent applications for medicines and disease-related technologies increased rapidly from 1971 to 1995. The primary determinant of rapid growth is an increase in research priority, especially among firms in the chemical industry whose technologies are related to supplemental foods and foods with health-promoting benefits. Finally, patent applications involving foodstuff- and agriculture-related technologies increased from 1971 to 1995 due to increased R & D and the increased priority of biological technology.
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