Overall Decrease in PCT Filings

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently announced its statistics for PCT filings in 2009, and it’s clear that international patent filings have not been immune to the global economic downturn.

Overall, the number of PCT filings dropped by 4.5% (155,900 PCTs filed in 2009 vs. 164,000+ in 2008). Additionally, sharper-than-average declines were seen in the number of filings originating from industrialized countries.

Country of Origin  

 % Change

 United States

 -11.4

 Germany

 -11.2

 Israel

 -17.2

 Sweden

 -11.3

 Canada

 -11.7

 Australia

 -7.5

 Italy

 -5.8

A Silver Lining in Eastern Asia
Despite the current economic climate, several East Asian countries were able to buck the trend and increase their number of filed PCT applications.

  • Most striking is the 29.7% increase seen in PCT applications originating from China, which has now surpassed France as the 5th largest PCT filer.

  • Smaller increases in PCT filings were observed in Japan and South Korea (3.6% increase and 2.1% increase, respectively), though in today’s economy, any growth at all is a refreshing departure from the norm.

  • Additionally, 6 of the top 10 PCT applicants are corporations based in one of these three countries.

Forecast for the Future
Insofar as patent filings are linked to the global economic state, it appears that at the very least, companies and individuals have been, and will continue be, examining their inventions with greater scrutiny in terms of marketability and profitability. The present economic climate has challenged applicants to reconsider the notion that filing foreign patents through traditional channels is the only option.

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