WIPO Survey On Patent Filing Strategies Shows Rise In Optimism07/02/2011 by Tavengwa Runyowa for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service, and depends on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.A recent economic survey by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) assessed the expected growth in domestic and international patent filings in 2010 compared to 2009. The highest expected growth rates were reported in Asian countries, with modest and declining growth reported in Europe and the United States respectively. WIPO conducted the study [pdf] to assess how users of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) “responded to the difficult economic conditions in 2009 and how they may respond to the incipient economic recovery in 2010”. The PCT “makes it possible to seek patent protection for an invention simultaneously in each of a large number of countries by filing an ‘international’ patent application,” according to the WIPO website.The online survey asked respondents to assess changes in their domestic, PCT, and international filings under the Paris Convention, the principle WIPO treaty governing industrial property rights.“We know from previous work that historically trademark and patent filings are always hit hard in times of an economic crisis, but they follow different patterns,” said senior WIPO economist, Sacha Wunsch-Vincent. “In the past, downturns led to pronounced and rapid declines in trademark applications but a very quick recovery whereas the growth in patent applications is less sharp but takes longer to rebound.”The survey results showed that respondents were generally optimistic about increases in domestic and international patent filings, as well as the corresponding growth of filing and maintenance expenditures. Japan and South Korea were largely responsible for the projected growth in PCT filings. Growth projections in Europe were modest, but remained unchanged and even declined among respondents from the United States.The survey also categorised respondents by industrial sectors. These included the pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, information technology, energy, machinery and equipment industries. Comments provided by companies were included.Although respondents in different sectors differed in their projections of likely growth in all patent filings, the general sentiment was that the 2010 levels would not fall below those of 2009.The reverse trend was however notable with respect to expenditures for filing and maintaining patents in several industries. The range of reasons for reduced expenditures included adaptations for longer-term business strategies, cost-cutting measures and a reassessment of returns from acquiring patent rights.However, Wunsch-Vincent said survey respondents did not support the commonly held view that insufficient cash flow or lack of access to credit are the main drivers of declines in IP filings and related expenditures.He further pointed out that, “In particular, budgetary pressures unrelated to the management of IP rights appear to have been the driving force in the information technology industry, whereas companies in the biotechnology and chemical industries appear to have more fundamentally re-assessed returns from acquiring patent rights.”Two other notable conclusions were raised by the survey. First, the resilience of companies’ IP and R&D strategies during the difficult 2009-2010 economic period highlights the important role IP plays in overall business strategy.Second, a number of firms are seeking greater efficiencies in their patent filings by cutting costs associated with using outside IP law firms, taking conservative approaches to filings abroad, and shifting the geographical focus of their filings away from Europe and to the US and emerging markets.The response rate of the survey was approximately 17 percent from a pool of 1,400 entities.Tavengwa Runyowa is currently an intern with Intellectual Property Watch. He recently completed his law degree (JD) at the University of Ottawa (Canada) and plans to pursue a career in international trade and intellectual property law.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)RelatedTavengwa Runyowa may be reached at email@example.com."WIPO Survey On Patent Filing Strategies Shows Rise In Optimism" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.