Monday, September 21, 2009

WIPO Report 2009: Recession Hits Patent Filings (But Not So Much In Asia)

WIPO held a two-day international symposium that concluded on September 18, 2009, where over 40 heads of IP offices participated in various discussions on IP issues. One primary focus of the event was to address the need to pool efforts at the international level to address the problem of backlogs in patent applications.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry referred to recently published data that showed that the global backlog in unprocessed patent applications around the world in 2007 was a "staggering" 4.2 million. Considering that backlogs have grown on average at a rate of 8.7% over the past five years, Gurry concluded that “this is unsustainable.” The USPTO accounted for around 28% of this backlog, followed by Japan, the EPO and the ROK.

The symposium comes on the heels of WIPO's World Intellectual Property Indicators 2009 (formerly known as the "World Patent Report"), which showed that, prior to the 2008 meltdown, IP filings were still robust, with 1.85 million patent (+3.7% increase), almost 3.3 million trademark (+1.6%) and approximately 0.62 million industrial design (+15.3%) applications being filed worldwide.

While the recessionary impact on filings is not known yet, international patent filings in the first half of this year were down 14 percent from a year earlier in the United States, but up 19 percent in China. Japanese international patent filings grew 11 percent while Britain's rose 6 percent in the first half of this year, although domestic filings in both countries fell by over 10 percent.

More from the report:

- While patent filings increased by 3.7%, the growth is less than the 5.2% growth recorded the previous year. Approximately, 59.2% of total patent applications in 2007 were filed in China, Japan and the US.

- Companies continued to seek IP protection outside their domestic markets. In 2007, non-residents accounted for 43.3% of the patents filed worldwide, maintaining a level that was established in 2001.

- The JPO is now number 1: while the USPTO traditionally issued the highest number of patents since 1998, this year the Office was surpassed by the JPO. Additionally, China 's SIPO replaced the EPO as the fourth largest office in terms of issuing grants. The five largest patent offices (the patent offices of Japan, the USA, the Republic of Korea, China and the EPO) accounted for 74.4% of total patent grants.

- Some 6.3 million patents were in force in 2007, with residents of Japan and the USA owning approximately 47% of this total.

- In 2008, approximately 163,600 PCT applications were filed, representing a 2.3% increase on 2007 figures. Applicants from the USA accounted for around 32.7% of all PCT filings.

To read/download the 110-page report, click here (link)

See also

"WIPO Report Shows Growth in IP Rights before Onset of Economic Crisis" (link)

"WIPO Symposium Concludes Global Patent Application Backlogs Unsustainable" (link)

See WIPO web page and materials for "Global Symposium of Intellectual Property Authorities," September 17, 2009 to September 18, 2009 (Geneva, Switzerland) (link)

Coverage from AGIP News: "WIPO Symposium Concludes Global Patent Application Backlog Unsustainable" (remarking that participants in the symposium concluded that the PCT should serve as the backbone for work sharing) (link)

3 Comentários:

Feigin, Patent Lawyer said...

Wow... US and Japan own 47% of patents. This report doesn't show that Bilski probably accounts largely for the US decrease. No such issues in Asia to cause such a decrease... just the same contracting economy.

Richard P. Beem said...

Peter, these are impressive and useful statistics. Let's hope David Kappos, newly installed Director of the USPTO, will act vigorously to reduce the US backlog of unexamined applications and move meritorious applications to issuance quickly. The present RCE practice, count system, "quality review" penalties for allowance, and other disincentives to timely allowance should be removed or revamped.

Gena777 said...

While changes in U.S. patent law have likely contributed to the decrease, the U.S. economy has clearly played a major part. We've been harder-hit economically than China and other Asian countries. Thank you for this item.

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