World Intellectual Property Organization

Record Year for International Patent Filings with Significant Growth from Northeast Asia

Geneva, February 8, 2007
PR/2007/476

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the cornerstone of the international patent system, has since it began in 1978, seen continuous growth with a record 145,300 1 applications filed in 2006, representing a 6.4% growth over the previous year. The most remarkable growth rates came from countries in north east Asia for the third year running and represented over a quarter (25.3%) of all international applications under the PCT. In 2006, the list was topped by applications from the United States of America (USA), Japan, Germany, Republic of Korea and France.

“The number of international patent applications continues to rise with impressive growth from north east Asian countries. Increasingly developing country economies are capitalizing on the tools of the intellectual property system for wealth creation,” said Mr. Francis Gurry, Deputy Director General who oversees the work of the PCT. "Innovation has been traditionally dominated by Europe and North America. New centers of innovation – in particular in northeast Asia - are emerging and this is transforming both the geography of the patent system and of future global economic growth” he added.

The Republic of Korea, which experienced 26.6% growth in 2006 as compared to 2005, overtook the United Kingdom and France to become the 4 th biggest country of origin of PCT filings, and applicants from China, whose use grew by 56.8%, dislodged Switzerland and Sweden to take the position of 8 th largest country of origin.

With just under 50,000 PCT applications, inventors and industry from the United States of America represented 34.1% (a 6.1% increase over 2005) of all applications in 2006. Applicants from Japan, who unseated their German counterparts in 2003 for the number two spot, maintained their second place position with 18.5% of the total number of applications, representing an 8.3% increase. Inventors and industry from Germany held third position with 11.7% of all applications in 2006, representing a 5.8% increase, followed by users in the Republic of Korea (4.1% of all applications and a 26.6% increase) and France (4.1% of all applications and a 2.8% increase). Among the fifteen top filing countries, others to achieve double-digit rates of growth were Italy (11 th highest filer, with a rate of growth of 16.1% in 2006) and Israel (15 th highest filer, with a rate of growth of 18.3% in 2006).

Top Applicants

The top 5 applicants remain unchanged. The Dutch multinational Philips Electronics N.V. was again the largest applicant (2,495 applications published in 2006), followed by Matsushita (Japan) (2,344), Siemens (Germany) (1,480) , Nokia (Finland) (1,036), and Bosch (Germany) (962). These were followed by 3M (USA) (727), BASF (Germany) (714), Toyota (Japan) (704),Intel (USA) (690), and Motorola (USA) (637). Among the 20 top filing companies, seven were from the USA, four from Japan and three from Germany.

Several companies join the top 20 list, including Huawei (China), up 24 places to 13 th, Fujitsu (Japan), up 9 places to 15 th, LG Electronics (Republic of Korea) up 12 to 16 th, and Hewlett-Packard (USA) up 5 to 18 th.

Developing Countries

International patent applications received from developing countries in 2006 saw a 27.6% increase as compared to 2005, representing 8.2% of all international patent applications filed. This is largely due to the filings from the Republic of Korea (5,935)and China (3,910), followed by India (627), Singapore (402), South Africa (349), Brazil (265) and Mexico (150). Developing countries make up 79% of the membership of the PCT, representing 106 of the 136 countries that have signed up to the treaty to date.

The top ten users of the PCT from developing countries include: Huawei Technologies (China), LG Electronics (Republic of Korea), Samsung Electronics, (Republic of Korea ), LG Chem (Republic of Korea), Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (Republic of Korea), ZTE Corporation (China), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (Singapore), Ranbaxy Laboratories (India), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (India) and NHN Corporation (Republic of Korea).

Fields of Technology

The greatest number of PCT applications published in 2006 were in telecommunications (10.5%), pharmaceuticals (10.4%), and information technology (10.4%). The fastest growing technology areas are semiconductors (28% increase), information technology (22%) and pharmaceuticals (21%).

The main fields of technology in which PCT applications were published in 2006 are broken down according to a classification based on the International Patent Classification (IPC) - a system designed to facilitate the retrieval of technical information found in patent documents - and are outlined in Annex I. (for further information on IPC codes, please consult: http://www.wipo.int/classifications/ipc/).

Other Developments

Applicants are increasingly resorting to electronic filing of their international applications with just over a third (31%) of applications now filed electronically. A further 25% are filed using PCT-EASY software (electronic bibliographic data with the patent specification on paper). The remaining 44% are still filed entirely on paper.

The WIPO PCT receiving office recorded a 3.3% increase in the number of international applications filed directly with them in 2006. This represents 5.6% of all PCT applications received in 2006. The PCT receiving office provides applicants with an option to file their international applications directly with WIPO, rather than through the intermediary of a national or regional office.

In addition, WIPO has improved productivity in the operations of the PCT through the implementation of information technologies and outsourcing of functions such as a proportion of the translation work. All PCT applications are now scanned on receipt at WIPO and processed electronically. With these changes, WIPO is able to contain costs and process the increased volume of PCT applications while keeping staff levels relatively constant.

Paper publication has been discontinued and PCT publication now takes place electronically via WIPO’s PatentScope portal ( http://www.wipo.int/patentscope/en/). PatentScope provides easy access to published PCT international applications and, through its advanced search engine and graphics features, provides easy access to the technological information disclosed via the international patent system.

Background

The PCT offers inventors and industry an advantageous route for obtaining patent protection internationally. By filing one “international” patent application under the PCT, protection of an invention can be sought simultaneously in each of a large number of countries. Both applicants and patent offices of PCT member states benefit from the uniform formality requirements, the international search and preliminary examination reports, and the centralized international publication provided by the PCT system. The national patent granting procedure and the related expenses are postponed, in the majority of cases, by up to 18 months (or even longer in the case of some offices) as compared with the traditional patent system. By this time, the applicant will have received important value-added information concerning the likelihood of obtaining patent protection as well as potential commercial interest in that invention.

The growth rate in the filing of PCT applications has been especially significant during the last nine years. It took 18 years from the beginning of PCT operations in 1978 to reach 250,000 total applications, but only four years to double that figure (500,000), and another four to double it again (1,000,000).

For further information, contact the Media Relations & Public Affairs Section at WIPO: Tel: +41 22 338 8161 or 338 95 47; e-mail: publicinf@wipo.int.

Annex I

 

PCT International Applications

Top 15 Countries of Origin

 

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006 estimate

2006 percent

2006 growth

United States of America

41,296

41,028

43,350

46,697

49,555

34.1%

6.1%

Japan

14,063

17,414

20,263

24,841

26,906

18.5%

8.3%

Germany

14,326

14,662

15,218

16,000

16,929

11.7%

5.8%

Republic of Korea

2,520

2,949

3,558

4,688

5,935

4.1%

26.6%

France

5,089

5,171

5,185

5,741

5,902

4.1%

2.8%

United Kingdom

5,376

5,206

5,026

5,085

5,045

3.5%

-0.8%

Netherlands

3,977

4,479

4,285

4,516

4,393

3.0%

-2.7%

China

1,018

1,295

1,706

2,493

3,910

2.7%

56.8%

Switzerland

2,755

2,861

2,899

3,277

3,403

2.3%

3.8%

Sweden

2,990

2,612

2,850

2,873

3,123

2.1%

8.7%

Italy

1,982

2,163

2,189

2,345

2,723

1.9%

16.1%

Canada

2,260

2,270

2,105

2,320

2,532

1.7%

9.1%

Australia

1,759

1,680

1,837

1,998

2,139

1.5%

7.0%

Finland

1,762

1,557

1,672

1,890

1,915

1.3%

1.3%

Israel

1,174

1,130

1,227

1,458

1,725

1.2%

18.3%

All Others

8,045

8,722

9,254

10,278

9,165

6.3%

-10.8%

Total

110,392

115,199

122,624

136,500

145,300

100.0%

6.4%

 

Main fields of technology in which PCT applications were published in 2006

 

Technical Field

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Increase Compared with 2005

I

Electricity - Electronics

      

1

Electrical devices, electrical engineering, electrical energy

6,973

7,365

7,568

8,768

9,806

12%

2

Audio-visual technology

5,391

6,057

6,074

6,713

7,313

9%

3

Telecommunications

11,166

10,821

10,441

11,670

13,465

15%

4

Information technology

11,095

9,917

9,531

10,992

13,375

22%

II

Instruments

      

5

Semiconductors

3,612

4,051

4,109

4,719

6,021

28%

6

Optics

2,408

2,616

2,563

3,215

3,716

16%

7

Analysis, measurement, control technology

10,767

11,447

10,869

11,867

12,715

7%

8

Medical technology

7,360

8,600

8,877

9,554

10,971

15%

9

Nuclear engineering

448

517

496

499

560

12%

III

Chemicals - Materials

      

10

Organic fine chemistry

4,537

5,225

5,652

6,112

6,194

1%

11

Macromolecular chemistry, polymers

3,894

3,984

4,002

4,532

5,384

19%

12

Chemical engineering

3,646

3,879

3,702

4,266

4,723

11%

13

Surface technology, coating

2,912

3,293

3,326

3,642

4,288

18%

14

Materials, metallurgy

2,909

3,037

3,031

3,252

3,753

15%

IV

Pharmaceuticals - Biotechnology

      

15

Biotechnology

9,001

8,604

7,609

7,312

6,952

-5%

16

Pharmaceuticals, cosmetics

9,654

9,976

9,436

11,090

13,376

21%

17

Agriculture and food

1,522

1,660

1,840

1,949

2,284

17%

V

Process engineering

      

18

Industrial processes

4,767

5,365

4,909

4,911

5,533

13%

19

Handling, printing

3,947

4,540

4,555

5,401

6,108

13%

20

Agricultural and food processing, machinery and apparatus

1,133

1,274

1,334

1,521

1,475

-3%

21

Materials processing, textiles, paper

4,159

4,780

4,285

4,763

5,390

13%

22

Environmental technology

1,230

1,314

1,249

1,380

1,533

11%

VI

Machinery - Mechanics - Transport

      

23

Machine tools

2,369

2,485

2,323

2,773

2,959

7%

24

Engines, pumps, turbines

2,583

2,820

2,975

3,205

3,661

14%

25

Thermal processes and apparatus

1,390

1,580

1,542

1,825

2,027

11%

26

Mechanical Components

3,229

3,567

3,720

4,108

4,649

13%

27

Transport

3,944

4,597

4,883

5,542

6,004

8%

28

Space technology and weapons

448

494

436

536

495

-8%

VII

Consumer goods - Civil engineering

      

29

Consumer goods and equipment

4,952

5,757

6,040

7,228

8,151

13%

30

Civil engineering, building, mining

3,132

3,461

3,847

3,908

4,352

11%

 

Top 50 PCT Applicants in 2006

2006
Ranking

Position Changed

Applicant's Name

Country of Origin

PCT application published in 2006

Increased over 2005

1

0

KONINKLIJKE PHILIPS ELECTRONICS N.V.

NL

2,495

3

2

0

MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD.

JP

2,344

324

3

0

SIEMENS AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT

DE

1,480

81

4

0

NOKIA CORPORATION

FI

1,036

137

5

0

ROBERT BOSCH GMBH

DE

962

118

6

2

3M INNOVATIVE PROPERTIES COMPANY

US

727

122

7

0

BASF AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT

DE

714

58

8

11

TOYOTA JIDOSHA KABUSHIKI KAISHA

JP

704

305

9

-3

INTEL CORPORATION

US

690

-6

10

-1

MOTOROLA, INC.

US

637

57

11

6

MITSUBISHI DENKI KABUSHIKI KAISHA

JP

616

178

12

9

QUALCOMM INCORPORATED

US

608

229

13

24

HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES CO., LTD.

CN

575

326

14

-1

TELEFONAKTIEBOLAGET LM ERICSSON (PUBL)

SE

572

61

15

9

FUJITSU LIMITED

JP

571

213

16

12

LG ELECTRONICS INC.

KR

567

238

17

1

E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS AND COMPANY

US

523

100

18

5

HEWLETT-PACKARD DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, L.P.

US

509

150

19

-7

HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC.

US

508

-11

20

-6

SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO., LTD.

KR

505

22

21

15

SHARP KABUSHIKI KAISHA

JP

496

227

22

17

PIONEER CORPORATION

JP

494

254

23

-8

THE PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY

US

492

31

24

-14

DAIMLERCHRYSLER AG

DE

451

-123

25

87

FUJI PHOTO FILM CO., LTD.

JP

445

339

26

0

THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

US

416

71

27

-16

EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY

US

394

-137

28

-3

NEC CORPORATION

JP

373

20

29

-7

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION

US

365

-9

30

59

BOSTON SCIENTIFIC SCIMED, INC.

US

327

196

31

-15

SONY CORPORATION

JP

320

-129

32

29

FRANCE TELECOM

FR

303

135

33

-13

THOMSON LICENSING

FR

303

-87

34

-5

PHILIPS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & STANDARDS GMBH

DE

286

-33

35

-8

KIMBERLY-CLARK WORLDWIDE, INC.

US

283

-53

36

7

BSH BOSCH UND SIEMENS HAUSGERÄTE GMBH

DE

282

67

37

-7

GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY

US

279

-39

38

-3

CANON KABUSHIKI KAISHA

JP

266

-3

39

61

LG CHEM, LTD.

KR

262

142

40

1

HONDA MOTOR CO., LTD.

JP

261

37

41

-3

MEDTRONIC, INC.

US

260

13

42

46

FREESCALE SEMICONDUCTOR, INC.

US

254

121

43

13

MURATA MANUFACTURING CO., LTD.

JP

248

74

44

20

FRAUNHOFER-GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FÖRDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG E.V.

DE

247

83

45

-1

CISCO TECHNOLOGY, INC.

US

243

31

46

9

MICROSOFT CORPORATION

US

242

67

47

-5

ASTRAZENECA AB

SE

240

24

48

17

KANEKA CORPORATION

JP

238

78

49

-1

DAIKIN INDUSTRIES, LTD.

JP

233

39

50

-10

NOVARTIS AG

CH

227

0



 

PCT International Applications by Residence of First Applicant

All Countries of Origin

Code

Country of Origin

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006 estimate

AD

Andorra

3

4

2

3

3

AE

United Arab Emirates

6

6

17

24

12

AM

Armenia

5

2

2

3

7

AN

Netherlands Antilles

1

 

2

2

11

AR

Argentina

9

15

11

21

15

AT

Austria

552

644

709

851

815

AU

Australia

1,759

1,680

1,837

1,998

2,139

AZ

Azerbaijan

1

6

5

3

9

BA

Bosnia and Herzegovina

5

7

3

7

8

BB

Barbados

123

192

243

205

40

BE

Belgium

696

776

831

1,073

897

BG

Bulgaria

31

45

24

21

21

BM

Bermuda

1

3

10

4

5

BN

Brunei Darussalam

1

  

7

1

BR

Brazil

201

219

278

280

265

BS

Bahamas

17

15

21

29

16

BY

Belarus

11

16

26

22

13

BZ

Belize

2

3

9

5

2

CA

Canada

2,260

2,270

2,105

2,320

2,532

CH

Switzerland

2,755

2,861

2,899

3,276

3,403

CL

Chile

6

9

6

9

8

CN

China

1,018

1,295

1,706

2,493

3,910

CO

Colombia

36

24

22

23

23

CR

Costa Rica

4

6

6

4

4

CU

Cuba

11

20

18

11

16

CY

Cyprus

23

28

43

30

44

CZ

Czech Republic

73

83

95

117

86

DE

Germany

14,326

14,662

15,218

16,002

16,929

DK

Denmark

979

1,036

1,049

1,122

999

DZ

Algeria

3

5

6

4

3

EC

Ecuador

2

5

9

1

9

EE

Estonia

11

8

12

13

15

EG

Egypt

1

22

53

51

41

ES

Spain

719

785

823

1,125

980

FI

Finland

1,762

1,557

1,672

1,890

1,915

FR

France

5,089

5,171

5,185

5,741

5,902

GB

United Kingdom

5,376

5,206

5,026

5,085

5,045

GE

Georgia

9

3

3

4

10

GR

Greece

75

67

79

55

83

HR

Croatia

69

72

76

71

61

HU

Hungary

185

114

136

161

111

ID

Indonesia

16

2

6

8

6

IE

Ireland

308

311

322

336

371

IL

Israel

1,174

1,130

1,227

1,458

1,725

IN

India

525

764

724

679

627

IS

Iceland

39

58

46

44

40

IT

Italy

1,982

2,163

2,189

2,345

2,723

JO

Jordan

2

  

2

6

JP

Japan

14,063

17,414

20,263

24,841

26,906

KE

Kenya

1

2

7

6

4

KP

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

 

3

3

3

4

KR

Republic of Korea

2,520

2,949

3,558

4,688

5,935

KY

Cayman Islands

 

2

9

5

9

KZ

Kazakhstan

16

7

7

7

13

LI

Liechtenstein

52

55

47

70

75

LT

Lithuania

10

4

9

7

9

LU

Luxembourg

143

117

125

117

105

LV

Latvia

10

12

12

16

11

MC

Monaco

13

17

16

13

9

MD

Republic of Moldova

1

2

3

5

5

MO

Morocco

10

7

7

9

7

MT

Malta

6

3

3

8

12

MU

Mauritius

5

5

12

3

3

MX

Mexico

132

131

118

141

150

MY

Malaysia

18

31

45

38

54

NL

Netherlands

3,977

4,479

4,285

4,516

4,393

NO

Norway

549

533

476

584

521

NZ

New Zealand

300

300

338

350

316

PA

Panama

7

16

14

16

15

PH

Philippines

20

21

11

26

15

PL

Poland

116

154

107

96

88

PT

Portugal

34

36

49

55

61

RO

Romania

25

16

18

15

18

RU

Russian Federation

539

586

518

655

483

SA

Saudi Arabia

10

28

31

39

45

SC

Seychelles

 

3

11

2

11

SD

Sudan

1

2

4

6

2

SE

Sweden

2,990

2,612

2,850

2,873

3,123

SG

Singapore

330

282

430

442

402

SI

Slovenia

44

65

62

86

69

SK

Slovakia

26

26

26

32

26

SM

San Marino

4

3

 

3

4

SY

Syrian Arab Republic

  

5

4

8

TH

Thailand

9

7

12

9

12

TN

Tunisia

6

5

5

9

3

TR

Turkey

85

111

115

174

186

UK

Ukraine

75

58

89

59

65

US

United States of America

41,296

41,028

43,350

46,697

49,555

UY

Uruguay

9

11

5

5

2

VG

Virgin Islands, British

2

2

11

18

10

VN

Viet Nam

2

7

2

 

9

YU

Serbia and Montenegro

30

34

29

36

25

ZA

South Africa

384

357

411

360

349

**

Unknown and others

260

286

325

320

269

Total

 

110,392

115,199

122,624

136,500

145,300



PCT Member States (136 Members on 31 December 2006)

Albania (AL)

Libya (LY)

Algeria (DZ)

Liechtenstein (LI)

Antigua and Barbuda (AG)

Lithuania (LT)

Armenia (AM)

Luxembourg (LU)

Australia (AU)

Madagascar (MG)

Austria (AT)

Malawi (MW)

Azerbaijan (AZ)

Malaysia (MY)

Bahrain (BH)

Mali (ML)

Barbados (BB)

Malta (MT)

Belarus (BY)

Mauritania (MR)

Belgium (BE)

Mexico (MX)

Belize BZ)

Monaco (MC)

Benin (BJ)

Mongolia (MN)

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BA)

Montenegro (ME)

Botswana (BW)

Morocco (MA)

Brazil (BR)

Mozambique (MZ)

Bulgaria (BG)

Namibia (NA)

Burkina Faso (BF)

Netherlands (NL)

Côte d’Ivoire (CI)

New Zealand (NZ)

Cameroon (CM)

Nicaragua (NI)

Canada (CA)

Niger (NE)

Central African Republic (CF)

Nigeria (NG)

Chad (TD)

Norway (NO)

China (CN)

Oman (OM)

Colombia (CO)

Papua New Guinea (PG)

Comoros (KM)

Philippines (PH)

Congo (CG)

Poland (PL)

Costa Rica (CR)

Portugal (PT)

Croatia (HR)

Republic of Korea (KR)

Cuba (CU)

Moldova (MD)

Cyprus (CY)

Romania (RO)

Czech Republic (CZ)

Russian Federation (RU)

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (KP)

Saint Kitts and Nevis (KN)

Denmark (DK)

Saint Lucia (LC)

Dominica (DM)

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (VC)

Ecuador (EC)

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Georgia (GE)

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Grenada (GD)

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Guatemala (GT)

Switzerland (CH)

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Tajikistan (TJ)

Honduras (HN)

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (MK)

Hungary (HU)

Togo (TG)

Iceland (IS)

Trinidad and Tobago (TT)

India (IN)

Tunisia (TN)

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Turkmenistan TM

Israel (IL)

Uganda (UG)

Italy (IT)

Ukraine (UA)

Japan (JP)

United Arab Emirates (AE)

Kazakhstan (KZ)

United Kingdom (GB)

Kenya (KE)

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United States of America (US)

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Uzbekistan (UZ)

Latvia (LV)

Viet Nam (VN)

Lesotho (LS)

Zambia (ZM)

Liberia (LR)

Zimbabwe (ZW)



1 Provisional estimate - WIPO continues to receive PCT applications filed with national offices in 2006 throughout the first half of the year

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