We have a large patent portfolio of issued and pending claims covering compositions of matter, uses for our MLC cell-based technologies and other proprietary regenerative product candidates and technologies, as well as for elements of our manufacturing processes, with approximately 770 patents and patent applications across 71 patent families as of August 2018.
One of our major objectives is to continue to protect and expand our extensive estate of patent rights and trade secrets, which we believe enables us to deliver commercial advantages and long-term protection for our product candidates based on our proprietary technologies, and support our corporate strategy to target large, mature and emerging healthcare markets for our exploratory therapeutic product candidates.
More specifically, our patent estate includes issued patent and patent applications in major markets, including, but not limited to, the United States, Europe, Japan and China. The patents that we have obtained, and continue to apply for, cover MLC technologies and product candidates derived from these technologies, irrespective of the tissue source, including bone marrow, adipose, placenta, umbilical cord and dental pulp.
These patents cover, among other technology areas, a variety of MLCs (including MPCs and MSCs), and the use of MLC for expansion of hematopoietic stem cells, or HSCs. Among the indication-specific issued or pending patents covering product candidates derived from our MLCs are those which are directed to our Tier 1 product candidates: CLBP, CHF, aGVHD and chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (“RA”) and diabetic kidney disease (“DKD”). We also have issued and pending patents covering our Tier 2 and pipeline indications, including inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., Crohn’s disease), neurologic diseases, eye diseases and orthopedic diseases.
Our patent portfolio also includes issued and pending coverage of proprietary manufacturing processes that are being used with our current two-dimensional manufacturing platform as well as the 3D bioreactor manufacturing processes currently under development. These cell manufacturing patents cover isolation, expansion, purification, scale up, culture conditions, aggregates minimization, cryopreservation, release testing and potency assays. In addition, we maintain as a trade secret, among other things, our proprietary FBS-free media used in our 3D bioreactor manufacturing processes.
We maintain trade secrets covering a significant body of know-how and proprietary information relating to our core product candidates and technologies. We protect our confidential know-how and trade secrets in a number of ways, including requiring all employees and third parties that have access to our confidential information to sign non-disclosure agreements, limiting access to confidential information on a need-to-know basis, maintaining our confidential information on secure computers, and providing our contract manufacturers with certain key ingredients for our manufacturing process.
In addition, in many major jurisdictions there are other means that may be available to us by which we would be able to extend the period during which we have commercial exclusivity for our product candidates, which include, but are not limited to the exclusive right to reference our data, orphan drug exclusivity and patent term extensions.
As part of our strategy, we seek patent protection for our product candidates and technologies in major jurisdictions including the United States, Europe, Japan, China, and Australia and file independent and/or counterpart patents and patent applications in other jurisdictions globally that we deem appropriate under the circumstances, including India, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Korea and Singapore. As of August 2018, our patent portfolio includes the following patents and patent applications in the following major jurisdictions: 79 granted U.S. patents and 46 pending U.S. patent applications; 50 granted Japanese patents and 34 pending Japanese patent applications; 24 granted Chinese patents and 25 pending Chinese patent applications; 40 granted European patents and 41 pending European patent applications; and 55 granted Australian patents and 20 pending Australian patent applications.
Our policy is to patent the technology, inventions and improvements that we consider important to the development of our business, only in those cases in which we believe that the costs of obtaining patent protection is justified by the commercial potential of the technology and associated product candidates, and typically only in those jurisdictions that we believe present significant commercial opportunities to us. In those cases where we choose neither to seek patent protection nor protect the inventions as trade secrets, we may publish the inventions so that it defensively becomes prior art in order for us to secure a freedom to operate position and to prevent third parties from patenting the invention.
We also seek to protect as trade secrets our proprietary and confidential know-how and technologies that are either not patentable or where we deem it inadvisable to seek patent protection. To this end, we generally require all third parties with whom we share confidential information and our employees, consultants and advisors to enter into confidentiality agreements prohibiting the disclosure of confidential information. These agreements with our employees and consultants engaged in the development of our technologies require disclosure and assignment to us of the ideas, developments, discoveries and inventions, and associated