Francis Gurry led WIPO as Director General from October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2020.

WIPO’s PATENTSCOPE® Service Expands Language Functionality

Geneva, June 30, 2008

From July 3, 2008, the wealth of technological information contained in international patent applications, a prime vector for technology transfer and innovation promotion, will also be searchable in Japanese. The addition of Japanese as a search language is a result of further improvements made by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to its online search service, PATENTSCOPE®, a gateway to over 1.4 million Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications. Japanese is the sixth language in which full-text data search is possible, along with English, French, German, Spanish and Russian.

“This enhancement improves access to Japanese PCT international applications, which make up 16% of all applications filed in the past four years,” said Mr. Francis Gurry, Deputy Director General of WIPO. He recalled that, after English, Japanese is the language in which most applications are filed. He also noted that a number of top users of the PCT are Japanese companies. “This is part of our continuing endeavor to add value to the PCT system,” noted Mr. Gurry, who oversees the work of the PCT. The PCT is a cornerstone of the international patent system and offers a rapid, flexible and cost-effective means of obtaining patent protection in up to 139 countries.

The searchable Japanese text data includes descriptions and claims of published PCT international applications filed electronically in Japanese and published on or after July 3rd, 2008. It further includes all the titles and the bulk of abstracts of international applications published since 2004. The Japanese text data will also be available on a weekly basis to all patent offices and companies that have subscribed to the FTP data delivery service. 

The PATENTSCOPE®search service interface has also been enhanced thanks to fruitful collaboration with Spanish-language patent offices that aim to provide additional patent data in that language. As a consequence the PATENTSCOPE® search service interface is now available in English, French and Spanish.  Web pages available in Spanish include the search interface, search results and all supporting web pages including on-line help and related pages. 


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 decade. While, it took 18 years from the beginning of PCT operations in 1978 to reach 250,000 total applications, after only four years this figure doubled (500,000), and a further four years for it to double it again (1,000,000). In 2007, over 156,000 PCT applications were filed.

PATENTSCOPE® search service is a valuable technical resource that provides access to information about new technologies which are often disclosed for the first time as international patent applications. International patent applications filed under the PCT system and accessible through the PATENTSCOPE®service, are typically those that inventors consider to be most valuable and therefore worthy of international protection.

The PATENTSCOPE® service provides access to international applications in full text format on the day on which they are published. The information may be searched by entering keywords, names of applicants, categories used in the international patent classification and many other search criteria. The service’s user-friendly functionality has greatly enhanced access to the system and the usefulness of the information contained therein. Complete documents may be printed or downloaded, free of charge; search results can be visualized through graphical analysis tools, and technology developments in specific areas can be tracked through RSS feeds.

PATENTSCOPE® service also provides free access to file contents and important information relating to the status of an international patent application for all applications published back to 1978. In particular, users may access the written opinion or international preliminary report for a given patent application which gives an indication of its patentability and value within the countries for which protection is sought. PATENTSCOPE® also provides information, when available, about the countries in which the applicant has entered the national phase – the phase in which a patent may eventually be granted by the patent office of the country or countries concerned.

This press release is available in Japanese at: 

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