World Intellectual Property Organization

PCT Two Million

“WIPO has been a vital force in supporting innovation and disseminating new technologies” – Qualcomm Chairman, Paul E. Jacobs

In April 2011, the PCT - WIPO's international patent application filing system - celebrated a new milestone as it clocked up two million international patent applications.

In a ceremony at WIPO Headquarters on April 14, 2011,  WIPO Director General Francis Gurry awarded a certificate to mark the two millionth filing to Qualcomm,  the US innovation company which has invented many of the wireless technologies that are at the center of the unprecedented growth in mobile voice, data and Internet services. Qualcomm began life in 1985 as a small start-up with seven people in San Diego, California. Today, the company's technologies are integral to mobile phones, tablet computers, e-readers, mobile applications and other wireless devices and services used by billions of people globally. Video, Video

Qualcomm has filed more than 9,000 international patent applications. In a corporate video to mark the PCT Two Million the company's Chairman and CEO, Paul E. Jacobs,  explains how the PCT - by providing a simple and cost effective way to file international patent applications - helps companies put their innovations into practice. Video, Video

Wireless Reach

Courtesy of Qualcomm

The mobile phone has become the largest platform in the history of mankind. In emerging markets, it will often be the first and only way people will access the Internet. The World Bank estimates that, in developing countries, a 10% increase in mobile penetration increases per capita GDP by .8 %; and 10% increase in Internet penetration increases per capita GDP by 1.4 %.

The belief that access to 3G and next-generation mobile technologies can improve people’s lives led to Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach™ initiative. The initiative includes projects in South Africa, where nurses are using 3G smartphones to gain access to reliable health information, such as the latest innovations in the treatment of HIV/AIDS; in Nepal and Vietnam, where students and teachers now have access to the Internet thanks to the installation of 3G wireless computer labs; and in El Salvador, where law enforcement officers are using 3G to share crime information and improve public safety. 

The acceleration in PCT growth has been remarkable. From when it first became operational in 1978, it took 26 years to reach the first million (end 2004); but little over six more years to reach two million mark.

Innovation driving recovery

In 2009, the number of international patent applications filed under the PCT dropped  for the first time since 1979 as a result of the global economic crisis. But they began to recover already in 2010 with an increase of 4.8%, driven by strong growth from China (+56.2%), the Republic of Korea (+20.5%), and Japan (+7.9%).

The geography of the PCT PDF, The Changing Geography of the PCT is changing with East Asia now accounting for the largest number of international patent applications, outstripping the US and Europe. This is a reflection of the the accelerated geographic diversification of innovative activity worldwide.

International patenting in the field of digital communication (including wireless communication networks) saw the fastest growth in 2010 (up 17.3%) . Most other fields of technology experienced a decline or only modest growth.

More 2010 PCT statistics.

International cooperation

The PCT is a successful example of practical cooperation in a multilateral environment. Its 142 Member States work with each other and with the WIPO Secretariat to make the system work, and work well.

Its success demonstrates its utility and the confidence which companies and individuals have in the system. It is also a tribute to the vision of the PCT’s founding fathers who, four decades ago, fore-saw the potential value in providing a global service for innovators to protect their inventions internationally.

WIPO continues to work with the Member States to further improve the functioning of the PCT system and to ensure that it meets the evolving needs of its users and partner patent offices. Current initiatives aim to increase both the quality of the work done under the PCT and work-sharing among patent offices in order to contribute to international efforts to tackle the backlog of unprocessed patent applications around the world.

Sharing knowledge

The information contained in the two million PCT applications form a unique global repository of technological knowledge. This knowledge - together with the information contained in national and regional collections of patent documents -  is made freely available through WIPO's PATENTSCOPE® database. The resulting database is an important collection of information about the “state of the art” in all fields of technology.

Two million innovations
Will yours be among the next million?

2010 Top Filers

  • Panasonic (Japan)
  • ZTE Corporation (China)
  • Qualcomm (US)
  • Huawei (China)
  • Philips (Netherlands)
  • Bosch (Germany)
  • LG Electronics (Republic of Korea)
  • Sharp (Japan)
  • Ericsson (Sweden)
  • ... top 99 filers

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