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WIPO Sees “Strong Growth”


Geneva, March 19, 2013.
International filings for patents, trademarks and industrial designs under WIPO-administered intellectual property (IP) systems saw continued strong growth in 2012. In 2012, international patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty(PCT) grew by 6.6% on 2011. Japan and the United States of America (US) accounted for 48.8% of the 194,400 PCT applications filed in 2012. Chinese telecommunications company ZTE, with its 3,906 published PCT applications, was the largest single filer in 2012.

International trademark applications filed under the Madrid system grew by 4.1% in 2012. France, Germany and the US accounted for 36.5% of the 44,018 Madrid applications filed in 2012. Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis was the most active filer in 2012, with 176 Madrid applications.

Among the top 15 PCT filings countries, the Netherlands (+14.0%), China (+13.6%), the Republic of Korea (+13.4%), Finland (+13.2%) and Japan (+12.3%) saw double-digit filing growth in 2012. After two years of decline in the number of filings, the Netherlands recorded the fastest growth. China's 2012 growth is lower than that of the previous two years; this partly reflects the sharp increase in Chinese filings since 2009, as an enlarged filing base naturally reduces relative growth rates. Canada (-6.7%), Spain (-2.4%) and Australia (-1.8%) are the three high-income countries in which fewer international applications were filed in 2012 than in 2011.

Large middle-income countries such as Turkey (-16.3%), Mexico (-15.6%), India (-9.2%), South Africa (-5.3%) and the Russian Federation (-4%) saw drops in PCT applications in 2012 after having recorded growth in 2011. Brazil is one of the few exceptions exhibiting growth in both 2011 (+15.6%) and 2012 (+4.1%).

The US (51,207) filed the largest number of PCT applications, followed by Japan (43,660), Germany (18,855), China (18,627) and the Republic of Korea (11,848). Japan (+1.1 percentage point), China (+0.6), and the Republic of Korea (+0.4) increased their respective shares of the world total, while Germany (-0.6) and the US (-0.6) saw slight decreases.

Top PCT Applicants

With 3,906 published applications, ZTE Corporation of China, was the largest filer of PCT applications in 2012, followed by Panasonic Corporation of Japan (2,951), Sharp Kabushiki Kaisha of Japan (2,001), Huawei Technologies, Co. of China (1,801) and Robert Bosch Corporation of Germany (1,775). In 2012, ZTE Corporation (+1,080), Panasonic Corporation (+488) and Fujifilm Corporation (+477) saw the largest increases in PCT filings. LG Electronics Inc. of the Republic of Korea (-242) and Qualcomm Incorporated of the US (-189) saw the largest declines. The 2012 top 50 PCT filers include 20 Japanese and 15 US applicants.

The University of California, with 351 published applications, was the largest filer among educational institutions in 2012, followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (168), Harvard University (146) and Johns Hopkins University (141). The top 50 PCT applicants for educational institutions include 27 US universities and 6 each from Japan and the Republic of Korea.

PCT Filings by Field of Technology

Electronic machinery with 13,293 published applications - or 7.5% of the total - overtook digital communications (7.1%) as the field of technology in which the largest number of PCT applications were published in 2012. Computer technology (7%) and medical technology (6.4%) also accounted for large shares of total applications.

Between 2011 and 2012, all technology fields except two experienced growth in filings. IT methods for management (+22.8%) saw the fastest growth, followed by micro-structural and nano-technology (+21.2%), computer technology (+18.2%), transport (+17.5%) and electrical machinery (+17.1%).

Madrid System

Germany with 6,545 filings - or 14.9% of the total - was the largest user of the Madrid system in 2012. The US (5,430) ranked second, followed by France (4,100), Switzerland (2,898) and Italy (2,787). The ranking of the top 10 countries remained unchanged, except for China which moved from sixth position in 2011 to seventh in 2012.

who field the most madrid trademark applications in 2012

Infographic: Who filed the most Madrid
trademark applications in 2012?

Among the top 15 origins, Japan (+32.9%) saw the largest growth in filings in 2012, followed by the United Kingdom (UK) (+22.4%), Turkey (21.7%), Spain (+13%) and Austria (+12.5%). There were considerable declines in Madrid filings from the Russian Federation (-8.5%), the Netherlands (-7.6%) and Germany (-7.1%).

Top Madrid Applicants

Novartis AG of Switzerland with 176 international applications was the top Madrid applicant in 2012. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma of Germany ranked second (160 applications), followed by L'Oreal of France (138), Glaxo Group of the UK (127) and Nestlé of Switzerland (105). Among the top Madrid applicants, Glaxo Group (+76), L'Oreal (+71), Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma (+62) and World Medicine of Turkey (+61) saw the largest increases in filings in 2012. BMW of Germany (-41), Janssen Pharmaceutical of Belgium (-35), Abercrombie & Fitch of Switzerland (-29) and Philip Morris of Switzerland (-22) saw the largest declines in filings. The top 30 Madrid applicant list includes 13 companies from Germany and 8 from France.

Background Information on the PCT, Madrid and Hague systems

PCT System

The PCT system facilitates the acquisition of patent rights in multiple jurisdictions. It simplifies the process of multiple national patent filings by delaying the requirement to file a separate application in each jurisdiction in which protection is sought. However, the decision of whether or not to grant patents remains the prerogative of national or regional patent offices, and patent rights are limited to the jurisdiction of the patent granting authority. The PCT system now has 146 member states.

For data updates and additional analysis on the performance of the PCT system in 2012, consult the PCT Yearly Review: The International Patent System in 2012, which will be published on WIPO's Intellectual Property Statistics website in April 2013.

Madrid System

The Madrid system makes it possible for an applicant to apply for a trademark in a large number of countries by filing a single international application at a national or regional IP office of a country/region that is party to the system. It simplifies the process of multinational trademark registration by reducing the requirement to file an application at the IP office in each country in which protection is sought. The system also simplifies the subsequent management of the mark, since it is possible to record further changes or to renew the registration through a single procedural step.

For data updates and additional analysis on the performance of the Madrid system in 2012, consult the Madrid Yearly Review: International Registrations of Marks, which will be published on WIPO's Intellectual Property Statistics website in May 2013.

Hague System

The Hague system makes it possible for an applicant to register industrial designs in multiple countries by filing a single application with the International Bureau of WIPO. By allowing the filing of up to 100 different designs per application, the system offers significant opportunities for efficiency gains. Moreover, it simplifies the process of multinational registration by reducing the requirement to file separate applications with the IP offices of each Hague member country/region in which protection is sought. The system also streamlines the subsequent management of the industrial design registration, since it is possible to record changes or to renew the registration through a single procedural step.

For data updates and additional analysis on the performance of the Hague system in 2012, consult the Hague Yearly Review: International Registrations of Industrial Designs, which will be published on WIPO's Intellectual Property Statistics website in April 2013.

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