WIPO Reports Increased Internationalization of Patent Filings
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently published World Patent Report 2008. The report, based on 2006 figures, shows that patents granted worldwide increased by 18%, with 727,000 patents granted in 2006 alone. According to these statistics, the total number of patents in force worldwide at the end of 2006 was approximately 6.1 million.
The Report also shows that North East Asian countries (mainly China and the Republic of Korea) and the United States of America led the overall growth in worldwide filing of patent applications. According to the Director General of WIPO, Dr. Kamil Idris "this reflects a consolidation of earlier trends which demonstrate a marked shift in innovation hubs around the world.”
The increased internationalization of patent activity is demonstrated - according the Report - by the growth in international filings through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the multilateral agreement administered by WIPO which provides a simplified method for international patent filing. The number of international patent application submitted via the PCT in 2007 is estimated to be 158,400, representing a 5.9% increase over the previous year.
The statistics, however, confirm a certain concentration of the innovative activity, since the Report pointed out to a growing tendency for traditional applicants to file their applications in multiple countries. In fact, the USA keeps being by far the largest user of the PCT system. In 2006, 33.6% of all PCT filings originated from the USA, almost twice that of the next largest user, Japan, which accounted for 17.5% of all PCT filings.