An International Guide to
Patent Case Management for Judges

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7.1.3 Patent application trends

The number of patent applications filed with the JPO increased as Japan’s economy grew. However, patent applications have decreased in recent years. For example, in 1970, approximately 459,000 patent applications were filed with the JPO, compared to 289,200 patent applications in 2021.12 As for the number of PCT applications by country of origin, Japanese PCT applications have increased since the ratification of the PCT in 1978, with the exception of 2014, 2020 and 2021. In 2021, 49,040 Japanese applications were filed using the PCT procedure, behind China and the United States of America (U.S.).13

Figure 7.1 shows the total number of patent applications (direct and Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) national phase entry) filed in Japan from 2000 to 2021.

Figure 7.1 Patent applications filed in Japan, 2000–2021

Source: WIPO IP Statistics Data Center, available at