The IPKat's anonymous Norwegian friend (let's arbitrarily call him Norman), who previously expressed some concern about the unexplained drop in ex-PCT applications in 2008 after Norway joined the EPC, has written again with some more concrete information. Norman writes (with some clarifying IPKat editing):
"Statistics from the Norwegian Patent Office (their preferred English name is now the "Norwegian Industrial Property Office" - NIPO) is now available in Norwegian. English translation is coming up, however I am happy to provide a quick translation of the essentials regarding patenting.
In the graph below (available here), grey represents PCT applications brought into national phase in Norway, yellow represents national application filed by foreign applicants (utenlanske), and cream represents national application filed by national applicants (innenlandske).
The IPKat can see Norman's point, and cannot think of any other reason that would explain why the number of national phase applications in Norway fell so rapidly in 2008. Can anyone else?
The reason for the relatively large cream fraction is possibly applications relating to offshore industries and fish farming, where it is not worth the cost to bring the application through the PCT process
As can be seen there is a decline. What is not apparent is that the major part of the decline took place in the last few months of 2008. There have already been multiple rounds of redundancies, something I don't think has ever happened in the Norwegian IPR firms before. The entire industry is going through a major reorganisation and this is not painless.
First of all it must be said that for a country where subtlety is on par with Ben Elton going full tilt on a Saturday night live [IPKat comment: younger readers may not recall, but Ben Elton was once a well known stand-up comedian], NIPO is showing remarkable restraint and more than a touch of understatement when stating (translated) ' In 2009 NIPO received 5420 patent applications, a decline of 18.5% compared to 2007. A certain amount of decline was expected due to entering the EPO, however this is larger than calculated. One possible cause is that some foreign applicants have mistakenly believed that international applications (PCT applications) dated prior to 1 January 2008 and filed with EPO for regional phase during 2008 would lead to rights in Norway. This, however, is only possible for applications with international filing date later than 1 January 2008.'
I 2008 mottok Patentstyret 5 420 patentsøknader, en nedgang på 18,5 % i forhold til 2007. En viss nedgang i antall søknader var forventet på grunn av EPO-medlemskap, men denne er større enn beregnet. Én sannsynlig årsak er at en del utenlandske søkere feilaktig har trodd at internasjonale patentsøknader (PCT-søknader) datert før 1. januar 2008 og innlevert til EPO for behandling i regional fase i løpet av 2008, også ville kunne føre til rettigheter i Norge. Dette er imidlertid bare mulig for søknader med internasjonal søknadsdato etter 1. januar 2008.
So in summary there is a significant decline in Norway but not in Sweden (see http://www.prv.se/Patent/
Statistics for Denmark are also now available:
National ( http://www.dkpto.dk/media/
34655/statistik_patent.pdf) only minimal change,
International ( http://www.dkpto.dk/media/
34658/statistik_international_) again only minimal change for PCT or for EP." patent.pdf