“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.”
2011 also saw the highest number of international trademark applications ever filed under WIPO’s Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks (“Madrid system”) with 42,270 applications, or a 6.5 % increase compared to 2010. Applications from the member states of the European Union (EU) accounted for more than half (57.4%) of all international trademark applications, and China remained the most designated country for trademark protection.
The largest growth rates amongst the top ten countries in the system came from the Russian Federation (+35.6%), followed by the European Union (+24.5%), the United States of America (+15.5%) and China (+11.5%). International registrations recorded in the International Trademark Register increased by 8.5%, with a total 40,711 new registrations issued in 2011. WIPO also recorded 21,754 international trademark renewals in 2011.
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“The Madrid international trademark system enables individual businesses to protect their brands in line with their export strategies and provides excellent value for money. The recovery in Madrid system activity that we witnessed in 2010 was further consolidated in 2011, where a new record was established for the number of international trademark applications filed,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.
Among the top filing countries, PCT applications from China (+33.4%), Japan (+21%), Canada (+8.3%), the Republic of Korea (+8%) and the US (+8%) saw the fastest growth in 2011. European countries, on the other hand, displayed a mixed performance, with Switzerland (+7.3%), France (+5.8%), Germany (+5.7%) and Sweden (+4.6%) experiencing growth, while the Netherlands (-14%), Finland (-2.7%), Spain (-2.7%) and the United Kingdom (-1%) seeing declines. The large middle-income economies of the Russian Federation (+20.8%), Brazil (+17.2%) and India (+11.2%) recorded double-digit filing growth.
The US with 48,596 filings remains the largest user of the PCT system, followed by Japan (38,888), Germany (18,568) and China (16,406). However, the US (-0.7%) and Germany (-0.5%) saw drop in their shares of total filings, while China (+1.5) and Japan (+1.8) each increased their share by more than a percentage point.
Top PCT Applicants
ZTE Corporation of China (2,826 published applications) overtook Panasonic Corporation of Japan (2,463) as the top PCT applicant in 201. Huawei Technologies, Co. of China (1,831) ranked third, followed by Sharp Kabushiki Kaisha (1,755) of Japan and Robert Bosch Corporation (1,518) of Germany. Each of the top five applicants saw double-digit growth in published PCT applications. Five Japanese companies – Panasonic, Sharp, Toyota, NEC, and Mitsubishi – feature in the top 15-list. Perhaps surprisingly, despite the US being the top filer only one US corporation made it into the top 10, with Qualcomm Inc. having 1,494 published applications in 2011.
Here are the top 25 corporate filers:
|4||Sharp Kabushiki Kaisha||Japan||1,755||469|
|5||Robert Bosch Corporation||Germany||1,518||217|
|7||Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha||Japan||1,417||322|
|8||LG Electronics Inc.||Korea||1,336||39|
|9||Koninklijke Philips Electronics||Netherlands||1,148||-285|
|10||Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson||Sweden||1,116||-31|
|13||Mitsubishi Electronic Corporation||Japan||834||108|
|19||3M Innovative Properties Co.||USA||563||-23|
|21||Kabushiki Kaisha Tobhiba||Japan||517||198|
|22||Canon Kabushiki Kaisha||Japan||499||120|
|24||Procter & Gamble Co.||USA||488||129|
|25||Mitsubishi Heavy Industries||Japan||480||89|
The University of California, with 277 applications published in 2011, is the largest filer among educational institutions, followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (179), the University of Texas System (127), Johns Hopkins University (111) and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (103). US universities account for 30 of the top-50 educational institutions, followed by Japan and the Republic of Korea with 7 institutions each.
Here is the list of the top 25 University filers:
|1||University of California||USA||277||-27|
|2||Massachusetts Institute of Technology||USA||179||33|
|3||University of Texas System||USA||127||-2|
|4||Johns Hopkins University||USA||111||22|
|5||Korea Advanced Inst. of Sci. & Tech.||Korea||103||52|
|6||Seoul National University||Korea||99||2|
|7||University of Tokyo||Japan||98||-7|
|8||University of Michigan||USA||96||17|
|11||University of Florida||USA||84||-23|
|13||Leland Stanford Junior University||USA||79||25|
|15||University of Pennsylvania||USA||64||-12|
|16||Isis Innovation Limited||UK||62||16|
|19||California Institute of Technology||USA||55||9|
|20||Arizona State University||USA||55||-9|
|21||Gwangju Institute of Science & Tech.||Korea||52||31|
|23||Hebrew University of Jerusalem||Israel||51||8|
PCT filings by Fields of Technology
Digital communications with 11,574 (or 7.1% of total) published applications remained the field of technology accounting for the largest share of total PCT applications in 2011, followed by electronic machinery (6.9%), medical technology (6.6%) and computer technology (6.4%).3
Most technology fields experienced growth in patenting in 2011. Electronic machinery (23.2%) saw the fastest growth, but 11 other fields also experienced double-digits growth (annex 4). Only 4 fields saw a decline in filings, including basic communication processes (-5.9%), organic fine chemistry (-4.1%), and pharmaceuticals (-1.9%).
The PCT system facilitates the process of seeking patent protection in multiple countries. It simplifies this process by postponing the requirement to file a separate application in each jurisdiction until after a centralized processing and initial patentability evaluation have taken place. Examination of the patentability of the invention in national offices and the related expenses are postponed, in the majority of cases, by up to 18 months – or even longer in some offices – as compared to direct patent filings. The PCT system now has 144 member states.- - - - - - - - - - Despite difficult economic conditions worldwide, international patent filings under the WIPO-administered Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) set a new record in 2011 with 181,900 applications – a growth of 10.7% when compared with 2010, and the fastest growth since 2005. China, Japan and the United States accounted for 82% of the total growth, and the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corporation was the largest filer of PCT applications in 2011. 2011 also saw the filing of the two millionth PCT application, which was filed by US-based mobile technology company Qualcomm.
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About the Author
Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog IPWatchdog.com, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.