Posted on Monday 4 September 2017 by Cruickshank Intellectual Property

Following the release of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Review, the World Intellectual Property Organisation has analysed and reviewed activities relating to PCT applications for 2016.

Since inception in 1978, the PCT has risen steadily with 152 contracting states now in participation and over 3.23 million applications filed since its beginning.

Following this published review found here we have looked at some of these findings.

PCT Applications Experience Continued Growth.

2016 has seen huge increases in the number of international patent applications filed under the PCT, with a growth of 7.3%. It is estimated that 233,000 applications were filed last year.

With 151 contracting states in participation at the time of this 2016 study, 87 receiving offices received at least one PCT application. With 56,796 applications filings, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) received the highest of that year, closely followed by the Japan Patent Office (JPO) with 44,513, The State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO) with 44,473 and the European Patent Office (EPO) with 35,309 applications.

Who is Filing More?

US based applicants filed the largest amount of PCT applications with 56,595.

Closely following the US is China with 43,168. Current trends predict China to overtake the US in the next few years making them the world’s biggest user of the PCT system. With heavy emphasis placed on innovation, IP and technology, and the Governments National Patent Development Strategy, it is unsurprising that China will pave the way for this takeover.

Industry the Top Performer in Applications.

85.5% of published PCT applications were from industry.

Following this were individuals with 7.5%, Universities with 5% and the Government sector with 1.9%.

Telecommunications leaders ZTE, topped the list of business performers, moving from third place last year and knocking Huawei Technologies from the top spot. With 4,123 published applications, ZTE set the record for the biggest number of filings in a year.

With 434 published PCT applications, The University of California is still the largest University user of the PCT, a position they have held since 1993. Out of the top ten Universities on the list, seven were from the USA.

E-Filing is now the Most Popular Route

95.5% of PCT applications were filed using the online ePCT-filing portal with the remaining 4.5% completed through paper.

The USPTO, SIPO and JPO had highest shares of electronic filings, with over 98% each.

While the Russian Federation (91%). India (38%) and Turkey (28%) had the highest amount when it came to filing applications on paper.

The number of English language applications have decreased from 70% to just over 50% over the last number of years, while Chinese, Japanese and Korean have seen sharp rises.

Still Some Way to Go for Women.

Interestingly, this is the first time the PCT Yearly Review has included data relating to female inventors. It follows from a report conducted by WIPO last year in which they analysed women’s participation in PCT applications. In a previous article we looked at this report and found that while substantial improvements were made there was still some way to go to narrow the gap.

While the share of applications featuring named women inventors increased from 21.9% to 30.5% it would seem there is still some way to go.

Both the Republic of Korea and China were found to be the most gender equal, with 46.6% for Republic of Korea and 43.8% for China regarding applications with named women inventors on applications.

Austria, Japan, Germany and Italy were found to carry the largest gender gap with less than one fifth of applications including named women inventors.

Life Sciences seem to have the highest share of women inventors. More than half of PCT applications in the fields of Biotechnology (58.4%), Pharmaceuticals (56.4%), Food Chemistry (51.1%) and Organic Fine Chemistry (54.7) had women inventors named on the applications.


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