WIPO PCT stats for 2008: do they really reflect the downturn?

"Global Economic Slowdown Impacts 2008 International Patent Filings" is the depressing title of the Press Release from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) today (PR/2009/583).

Right: the IPKat is indignant to discover that 100% of PCT applications last year were not filed by cats.

According to the intro,
"International patent filings under WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) grew by 2.4% in 2008, to nearly 164,000 applications. While the rate of growth was modest, as compared to an average 9.3% rate of growth in the previous three years, the total number of applications for 2008 represents the highest number of applications received under the PCT in a single year. Continued use of the PCT, a cornerstone of the international patent system, indicates that companies recognize the importance of sustained investment in research, development and innovation to remain competitive even within challenging economic conditions. [In other words, don't worry too much about the rate of growth. If the IPKat starts with just 5 kittens at the beginning of the year but ends up with 10 kittens at the end of the year, that's 100% growth. If by the next year-end he has 17 kittens on his paws, that's a larger increase in numerical terms but the growth rate has slumped from 100% to 70%] .

Inventors from the Republic of Korea (+12.0%), China (+11.9%) and Sweden (+12.5%) enjoyed robust growth rates in their filing of PCT applications in 2008. The largest number of international PCT applications, just under a third of the total for 2008 (32.7% or 53,521 applications) were filed by inventors in the United States of America, maintaining a ranking that has spanned some thirty years.

... Inventors and corporations from Japan, with 17.5% (28,774) of all filings, clinched the number two spot in 2008, followed by Germany (18,428), Republic of Korea (7,908) France (6,867), China (6,089), United Kingdom (5,517), Netherlands (4,349), Sweden (4,114), Switzerland (3,832), Canada (2,966), Italy (2,939), Finland (2,119), Australia (2,028) and Israel (1,882). In 2008, China improved its ranking by one place, to become the sixth largest user of the PCT".
News from the developing countries is less encouraging. Once Korea and China -- if you regard them as developing countries -- have been taken into account, next come
".. India (766), Brazil (451), South Africa (382), Turkey (367), Mexico (210), and Malaysia (177).

Developing countries make up 78% of the membership of the PCT, representing 109 of the 139 countries that have signed up to the treaty to date".
Top filing company this time around was Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, a major international telecommunications company based in Shenzhen, which notched up 1,737 PCT applications and just shaded Japan's Panasonic Corporation (1,729). A curious feature of the statistics is that, while the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Australia and Israel all feature in the top 15 filing countries, none of those nations has secured even a single entry in the list of Top 50 filing companies.
WIPO PCT stats for 2008: do they really reflect the downturn? WIPO PCT stats for 2008: do they really reflect the downturn? Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 Rating: 5


  1. It is interesting to note that PCT filings are rising fastest in the countries whose languages few other can read, viz, Germany, Japan, Korea and China ! Bearing in mind that all that appears in English for these PCTs filed and published in German, Japanese, Korean or Chinese is a less than adequate 'Engrish' abstract for up to 30 months (?), am I the only one who sees a conspiracy to conceal ?

  2. the IPKat (whose demeanor seems so much nicer than the black devil) is simply not right. First of all, he cannot know what has happened from July-December (still not publicly available), and secondly, he has not done a search:

    Publication number: WO2008126457 (A2)
    Publication date: 2008-10-23

    With the spelling "Katz" the situation is that there are at least 34.

    Perhaps the black devil is sharper after all!!

    Kind regards,


  3. Mike - German is the most common first language in Europe, 1.176 Chinese people speak Chinese, and many many Koreans and Japanese speak their own languages. To suggest there is a "conspiracy to conceal" is ridiculous.

  4. The Kat had a little too much full-fat this morning. The report from WIPO doesn't say that last year's increase was greater in numerical terms than the previous years; it merely says that the total was a new record, which is the case if the change is positive and doesn't come after previous reduction(s) from an even higher total.

    Yours, the Ip-ed-Ant.


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