By Donald Zuhn --
Last week, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced that International patent filings under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) rose from 155,398 in 2009 to 162,900 in 2010 -- an increase of 4.8%. While the United States ranked first in filings with 44,855 applications, this still marked a 1.7% decline from the 45,618 applications that were filed in 2009. China saw the strongest growth in PCT filings, with applications up 56.2% to 12,337 in 2010. Japan, Germany, and South Korea rounded out the remainder of the top five with 32,156; 17,171; and 9,686 applications, respectively.
When 2010 filings were sorted into 35 technical fields by International Patent Classification (IPC), the top five fields were:
(1) Electrical machinery, apparatus, energy: 10,581 applications
(2) Medical technology: 10,465
(3) Computer technology: 9,540
(4) Electrical machinery, apparatus, energy: 9,143
(5) Pharmaceuticals: 7,843
While the fields of biotechnology and organic fine chemistry each had more than 5,000 filings (with 5,206 and 5,511, respectively), both fields saw filings drop in 2010 (down 1.5% and 2.9%, respectively). However, only six of 35 technical fields saw filings rise in 2010 (digital communication; semiconductors; materials, metallurgy; electrical machinery, apparatus, energy; thermal processes and apparatus; and medical technology).
According to WIPO's figures, the top ten corporate PCT filers in 2010 were:
(1) Panasonic Corp. (Japan) - 2,154 applications
(2) ZTE Corp. (China): 1,863
(3) Qualcomm Inc. (U.S.): 1,677
(4) Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. (China): 1,528
(5) Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. (Netherlands): 1,435
(6) Robert Bosch GmbH (Germany): 1,301
(7) LG Electronics Inc. (South Korea): 1,298
(8) Sharp Kabushiki Kaisha (Japan): 1,286
(9) Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (Sweden): 1,149
(10) NEC Corp. (Japan): 1,106
and the top five university filers in 2010 were:
(1) The Regents of the University of California (U.S.): 306 applications
(2) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (U.S.): 145
(3) Board of Regents, The University of Texas System (U.S.): 130
(4) University of Florida (U.S.): 107
(5) The University of Tokyo (Japan): 105
A list of the top corporate and university filers can be found here.
In January, the European Patent Office (EPO) announced that it had also seen a rise in application filings in 2010. According to the EPO release, 232,000 European applications were filed in 2010, up 10% from the 211,000 filings in 2009. The EPO noted that 39% of the applications originated from the 38 member states of the European Patent Organisation, 26% came from the U.S., 18% were from Japan, and 5% were from each of South Korea and China. The EPO also noted that 58,100 European patents were granted in 2010, up 11% from the 52,400 patents granted in 2009. More detailed statistics are expected to be released later this year.