|Top FIVE PCT applicants 2016|
Overall, applicants based in the United States maintained their number one ranking for the 39th year running, accounting for roughly a quarter (24.3%) of the 233,000 applications filed under the PCT in 2016 – itself a 7.3 percent year-on-year increase – followed by applicants in Japan (19.4%) and China (18.5%), with the latter driving the overall growth in demand. If this current trend continues, China will overtake the U.S. within two years as the largest user of the PCT System. Germany and the Republic of Korea with 18,315 and 15,560 applications were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively (Annex 1).
In total, Asia accounted for 47.4% of total PCT applications, just short of the combined share of Europe (25.6%) and North America (25.3%).
Among the top 15 origins, China recorded extraordinary growth (+44.7%), while Italy (+9.3%), Israel (+9.1%), India (+8.3%) and the Netherlands (+8%) also saw strong growth rates. In contrast, Canada (-17.3%) – for the second consecutive year – saw a substantial decline in filings, linked to declining applications from RIM/Blackberry and Nortel.
ZTE Corporation (4,123 published PCT applications) and Huawei Technologies (3,692) – occupied the top two spots in the list of top PCT applicants, with ZTE moving up two spots to push Huawei out of the leader position.
|IPKat is adapting|
Filings for design protection under the Hague System increased by no less than 13%. Germany with 3,917 designs was the largest user of the Hague System, followed by Switzerland (2,555). Fonkel Meubelmarketing of the Netherlands (953 designs) overtook Samsung Electronics of the Republic of Korea (862) as the largest user of the Hague System (if you never heard of Fonkel Meubelmarketing - me neither. They do not even have a website. It appears that they do business as Maxfurn). The Republic of Korea’s LG Electronics with 728 designs was in third position, followed by Swatch of Switzerland (383) and Procter & Gamble of the U.S. (348).
The EPO has released its annual report 2016 a while ago, see here for key figures. Beware of the "European patent filing" indicator, which grew by 6.2%. European patent applications (i.e. only including PCT applications that entered the regional phase) are down 0.4%. Philips is the largest filer before Huawei and Samsung. Granted patents are up a massive 40%.
Patent statistics are to be taken with a grain of salt. For starters, US companies appear to rely less on the PCT than Asian countries, so PCT statistics may not reflect their patenting activities. But the increase in Asian, specifically Chinese, filings shows from where the wind will be blowing. On the (domestic) Chinese patent boom see IPKat post here.