The worldwide filing of PCT patent applications reached a record high in 2018. For the first time, more than half of the PCT patent applications were filed with WIPO from Asia, mainly from China and Japan.
PCT patent applications
PCT stands for Patent Cooperation Treaty. The International Patent Convention was agreed in 1970 and allows patent protection for an invention to be applied for simultaneously in nearly 150 countries by filing a single “international” PCT patent application. The PCT application can be used as a template for a patent application for each member country instead of filing several separate national or regional patent applications. This not only saves time and effort, but also money.
Please read more about PCT patent applications in our article “The advantages of a PCT application“.
Applications to patent offices or WIPO
As PCT patent applications must be filed with a national or regional patent office or with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), WIPO has a good overview of international PCT patent applications. In a recent press release on the Annual Report 2018, WIPO announced that a new record number of international patent applications had been filed. For the first time, more than half of the PCT patent applications were filed with WIPO from Asia (50.5%), Europe (24.5%) and North America (23.1%) each filed a further quarter.
New record number for all international patent and trademark applications
Overall, WIPO’s annual report shows a new record number of 253,000 PCT patent applications for 2018, an increase of 3.9% over 2017, 61,200 international trade mark applications filed through WIPO’s Madrid system – an increase of 6.4% over 2017 – and 5,404 applications filed through the Hague system for international designs.
PCT patent applications by country of origin
In 2018, 56,142 PCT applications were filed in the USA, followed by applications from China (53,345) and Japan (49,702). Germany and the Republic of Korea came fourth with 19,883 and 17,014 registrations, respectively.
China (+9.1%) and the Republic of Korea (+8%) both recorded remarkably strong growth. Nevertheless, China’s growth rate was as low as in 2002, with India (+27.2%) and Finland (+14.7%) showing the strongest growth for 2018. On the other hand, the Netherlands (-6.6%), France (-1.2%) and the USA (-0.9%) each recorded a decrease in PCT patent applications.
Technology areas of PCT applications
The leading technology area for PCT applications is digital communication (8.6% of the total), closely followed by computer technology (8.1%). Other important technology areas are electrical engineering (7%), medical technology (6.7%) and transport (4.6%).
Among the top 10 technologies, transport (+11.3%), digital communications (+10.1%) and semiconductors (+9.8%) were the areas with the highest growth rates in 2018, according to WIPO’s 2018 annual report.
Would you also like to protect your patent or trademark internationally?
Our lawyers will be happy to advise you. You are also welcome to use our non-binding callback service.
Would you also like to protect your patent or trademark international?