Today the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) released its annual audit of PCT filings from the last year and, relatively speaking, their findings should encourage optimism.
In 2011, 181,900 PCT applications were filed with WIPO, breaking the previous record and further strengthening the notion that despite the dire global economic climate, procuring international patent rights is an integral part of many IP strategies. The volume of applications filed last year represents an increase of 10.7% over 2010 and the fastest growth rate since 2005.
The United States remained the top PCT filer with 48,596 applications, but significant increases in applications originating from Japan and China could soon threaten America’s position at the top. Japan and China filed 38,888 and 16,406 applications in 2011, respectively, an increase of +21% for Japan and an increase of +33.4% for China from the previous year. Besides China, the other BRIC countries also fared well in 2011 with increases of 17.2%, 20.8% and 11.2% for Brazil, Russia and India, respectively.
Asian entities also dominated the top filers list in 2011. Four of the top five PCT filers are Asia-based corporations (ZTE Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, Huawei Technologies and Sharp). The top US-based filer in 2011 was Qualcomm, coming in sixth place overall with 1494 applications.
How did U.S. applicants fare in 2011 and what is their outlook for 2012? Stay tuned for the release of inovia’s 2012 Global Patent & IP Trends Indicator, which will be available in a few weeks.