By Donald Zuhn --
Last week, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) released data on 2014 international application filings under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). WIPO noted that U.S. and Japanese filings accounted for almost half (48.5%) of all PCT filings last year, with total filings coming in at just under 215,000, a 4.5% increase over the previous year. The rest of the top 10 consisted of China, Germany, South Korea, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden. Among the top three countries, filings in which the U.S. was primary country of origin were up 7.1% over the prior year, Japanese filings were down 3%, and Chinese filings were up 18.7%. A complete list of filings by country of origin can be found here.
WIPO also released a list of top PCT applicants, which not surprisingly was dominated by hi-tech companies. While few life sciences companies cracked the WIPO top 50, five companies or institutions that made our most recent list of top "Life Sciences" U.S. patentees (see "IPO Releases List of Top 300 Patent Holders for 2013 -- Life Sciences Top 49") -- BASF, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Commissariat a L'Energie Atomique et Aux Energies Alternatives, and the University of California -- made it onto the WIPO list. The list of the top 50 PCT applicants can be found here.
The University of California led all educational institutions with regard to PCT filings. WIPO noted that nine of the top ten educational institutions were U.S. universities. WIPO's list of top 50 educational institutions can be found here.
WIPO also provided a list of PCT filings by field of technology, with the list divided into five categories: electrical engineering, instruments, chemistry, mechanical engineering, and other fields. Computer technology accounted for the largest share of PCT applications in 2014, with 8.4% (17,653 applications, up 19.4% since 2013). Digital communications (7.7%) and electronic machinery (7.3%) rounded out the rest of the top three technology fields. In the chemistry category, PCT filings were up 2.8% to 5,874 for biotechnology and up 4.1% to 8,568 for pharmaceuticals in 2014. However, WIPO noted that relative to the total number of PCT filings, the share of pharmaceutical filings has steadily declined since 2007. Among the top pharmaceutical filers in 2014 Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. (171 applications), Novartis AG (141), F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG (135), and the University of California (111). WIPO also noted that while universities and public research organizations are responsible for 26% of pharmaceutical PCT filings, these entities are only responsible for 4.6% of computer technology filings and 2.8% of digital communication filings. A complete list of PCT filings by technology field can be found here.
WIPO also released the following infographic, while summarizes some of the data for PCT application filings in 2014.