Much of this increase is due to China, whose patent applications rose 24.3% and trade mark applications 29.8%. Without China, the rise in patent numbers almost halves to 3.7%.
But the recovery from 2009 is still impressive – using the same ex-China model, patent filings fell almost 6% that year. “The strength of IP growth around the world was unexpected given the still stuttering economy,” said senior WIPO statistical analyst Mosahid Khan.
"We were particularly surprised at how strong the US patent recovery was, given the difficulties of its economy.” Patent applications did not grow at all in the US in 2009, but rose 7.5% in 2010.
WIPO has made an effort to be more up to date with its statistics this year. The World IP Indicators report for 2008 came out in September 2010. By moving a little later to December in 2011, the Office has managed to jump a year ahead and report on 2010 numbers.
WIPO has gone to greater lengths to generate statistics in other areas, including on patent pendency times. According to Khan, this is one reason that the WIPO report says that pendency times have increased in recent years, but the number of pending applications has declined.
|Worldwide patent filings growth rate (%)|
While the latter information came from IP offices, WIPO generated the former post-grant, by looking at granted patents and then searching back to when the application was made.
It is also worth noting that the figure for pending patent applications does not include China, which doesn’t publish this information. In recent years, SIPO has been granting patents at a slower rate than the US and Japan. Those two offices accounted for 80% of the growth in the number of granted patents in 2010.
Among other results from the report, Japan’s patent filing continued to shrink in 2010, though at a lesser rate than in 2009. Khan points out that there are many dynamics at work here, including an increasing use of the PCT system by Japanese patent applicants and an increase in the number of claims per patent.
WIPO receives some information from 88 IP offices for patents, out of a possible 135, and 115 for trade marks out of 169. Those missing offices are among the smallest though, giving data coverage of 97% and 87% respectively.
The full report can be seen here.