International patent filings experienced record growth in 2011 – UN agency

Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization Francis Gurry. Photo: WIPO/Berrod Emmanuel

5 March 2012 – Applications for international patent filings experienced their fastest growth since 2005 last year, the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reported today, adding that this signals a steady recovery despite difficult global economic conditions.

Last year 181,900 patent applications were filed under the WIPO-administered Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which facilitates the process of seeking patent protection in multiple countries. This represents an almost 11 per cent growth compared to 2010.

“The recovery in international patent filings that we saw in 2010 gained strength in 2011,” said WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry. “This underlines the important role played by the PCT system in a world where innovation is an increasingly important feature of economic strategy.

“It also shows that companies have been continuing to innovate in 2011 – reassuring news in times of persistent economic uncertainty,” he added.

China, Japan and the United States accounted for 82 per cent of the total growth, with the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corporation filing the most applications in 2011, WIPO stated in a news release.

Among the top filing countries, applications from China, Japan, Canada, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the US saw the fastest growth.

European countries witnessed a mixed performance with Switzerland, France, Germany and Sweden experiencing growth, and the Netherlands, Finland, Spain and the United Kingdom seeing declines.

Meanwhile, large middle-income economies such as Russia, Brazil and India recorded double-digit filing growth.

WIPO stated that patents related to digital communications amounted to 7.1 per cent of the total filing, making it the field with the largest share of applications followed by electronic machinery, medical technology and computer technology.


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Rise in intellectual property filings point to innovation despite economic crisis – UN

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