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Biomimetics for business? Industry perceptions and patent application

Ryo Kohsaka (Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan)
Yoshinori Fujihira (Graduate School of Engineering, Muroran Institute of Technology, Muroran, Japan)
Yuta Uchiyama (Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan)

Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management

ISSN: 2053-4620

Article publication date: 5 August 2019

Issue publication date: 2 October 2019




Biomimetics are expected to contribute to sustainable environmental management; however, there has been no exploration of industry perceptions by using empirical data. This study aims to identify the trends and perceptions of biomimetics. The industrial sectors in Japan and international patent application trends are analyzed.


An online survey to identify the perceptions of staff members in Japanese private companies (n = 276) was conducted. Japan is an emerging country in terms of the social implementation of biomimetics, and this paper can provide insights into other such countries.


It is identified that the strength of connections to biomimetics differs across industrial sectors. The respondents from companies that use nanoscale biomimetics tend to have the knowledge of, and experience in, biomimetics. Regarding the overall understanding of patent applications, Japanese private company employees require knowledge of patent application trends and country rankings as potential factors influencing the development of biomimetics.

Social implications

Knowledge transfer and sharing of experience among engineers and researchers of nanoscale technologies and urban scales are necessary to facilitate biomimetic advancement.


The results of the first survey and an analysis of the perceptions of staff members in private companies in Japan are provided to show the challenges in the social implementation of biomimetics. The results can be referred to for the social implementation of biomimetics in emerging countries. The method of this study can be applied to an international comparative analysis in future research.



This work was supported by the JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP15H01597; JP24120008 in Scientific Research on Innovative Areas “Innovative Materials Engineering Based on Biological Diversity”, JP16KK0053; JP17K02105; Kurita Water and Environment Foundation [16C003, 17K010]; Toyota Foundation [D17-N-0107]; Foundation for Environmental Conservation Measures, Keidanren [2019].


Kohsaka, R., Fujihira, Y. and Uchiyama, Y. (2019), "Biomimetics for business? Industry perceptions and patent application", Journal of Science and Technology Policy Management, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 597-616.



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