Record Year for International Patent Filings

February 2006

The international patent system is once again showing record growth with over 134,000 Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications filed in 2005, representing a 9.4 percent increase over 2004. While the five top users of the PCT remained unchanged (United States of America, Japan, Germany, France and the United Kingdom), the Republic of Korea overtook the Netherlands to move into 6th place, and China dislodged Canada, Italy and Australia to take the 10th.

In announcing the latest figures, WIPO Deputy Director General Francis Gurry highlighted that the most impressive rates of growth, for the second year running, had come from northeast Asia. "Since 2000, the number of applications from Japan, Republic of Korea, and China have risen by 162 percent, 200 percent and 212 percent, respectively," said Mr. Gurry. These three countries between them accounted for almost a quarter of all international applications. Other top filing countries showing double-digit rates of growth included Australia (10.1 percent), and Finland (11.6 percent).

Applications from developing countries, representing 6.7 percent of all international patent applications filed, saw a 20 percent increase as compared to 2004. The top filers among the developing countries were the Republic of Korea (4,747 applications), China (2,452), India (648), South Africa (336), Singapore (438), Brazil (283) and Mexico (136).

Company Country PCT applications
1. Philips Electronics N.V. Netherlands 2,492
2. Matsushita Japan 2,021
3. Siemens Germany 1,402
4. Nokia Finland 898
5. Bosch Germany 843
6. Intel U.S.A. 691
7. BASF Germany 656
8. 3M U.S.A 603
9. Motorola U.S.A. 580
10. DaimlerChrysler Germany 567


Improved services and productivity

Mr. Gurry attributed the considerable overall growth not only to better economic conditions, but also to improved services and productivity gains within the PCT system, resulting particularly from expanded use of information technology (IT). Applications filed electronically more than doubled to exceed paper filings; and the number of international applications processed per employee in the WIPO PCT office increased by 18 percent.

The WIPO Magazine is intended to help broaden public understanding of intellectual property and of WIPO’s work, and is not an official document of WIPO. The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of WIPO concerning the legal status of any country, territory or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. This publication is not intended to reflect the views of the Member States or the WIPO Secretariat. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by WIPO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.