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WIPO Report on Worldwide Patenting October 19, 2006

Posted by mais in Patent.
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A report released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on Monday, October 16, 2006, shows that the patent system is an integral part of increasing global economic activity, with the increase in patent filings closely mirroring economic growth around the world. The WIPO Patent Report 2006 shows that companies are increasingly using the intellectual property (IP) system to protect their investments in new markets. The report reveals that a total of 5.4 million patents were in force worldwide in 2004, the last year for which complete statistics are available.

The WIPO Patent Report (2006 Edition) presents an overview of worldwide patenting activity based on statistics up to the end of 2004. It provides analyses of different aspects of the patent system, cross-country comparisons and special sections on technical features of the patent system such as the Patent Cooperation Treaty and the European Patent Convention.

Patent statistics are useful indicators of inventive activity and of technology flows. Research into the use and interpretation of such statistics is an on-going activity at WIPO. In this first edition, the WIPO Patent Report includes indicators to measure patenting intensity across countries. Three indicators (population, GDP and R&D expenditure) are used to weight patent filings according to country size and economic activity.

Growth in patent activity. Patent filings have grown at an average annual rate of 4.75% over the past ten years, to a total of nearly 1.6 million in 2004. The growth rate is comparable to the overall increase in economic activity as measured by world GDP growth. Patents granted worldwide have also increased at a similar rate, to more than 600,000 in 2004. At the end of 2004, there were more than 5.4 million patents in force worldwide.

Increasing internationalization. Patenting activity has expanded across more countries in recent years. This can be seen in the growth rate of patent filings by non-residents (7.4% average annual increase since 1995) and in the increase in patent filings in countries such as Brazil, China, India, the Republic of Korea and Mexico. That said, the use of the patent system remains highly concentrated with five patent offices (United States of America, Japan, European Patent Office, Republic of Korea and China) accounting for 75% of all patent applications and 74% of all patents granted.

Increased use of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). The WIPO-administered PCT has become a major route for international patent filing. The number of PCT international applications grew at an average annual rate of 16.8% from 1990 to 2005 and reached 135,000 in 2005. PCT national phase entries account for 47% of all non-resident patent filings

Patent_report_200621 The report notes a boom in patent filings in northeast Asia over the past 20 years, most notably with the emergence of China and the Republic of Korea as major industrial economies. For several decades Japan has been the largest patent office in the world with more than 400,000 patent applications filed by residents and non-residents in 2004. In only 20 years, China has become the 4th largest patent office in the world (by number of patent applications filed) and patent filings by Chinese residents grew more than five-fold between 1995 and 2004 to reach 65,786. Today, the Republic of Korea is the 3rd largest patent office in the world and is also experiencing very high growth rates with a three-fold increase in patent filings by residents between 1994 and 2004.


EU Law Blog: Compulsory licenses of pharmaceutical patents for export October 4, 2006

Posted by mais in Patent.
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EU Law Blog: Compulsory licenses of pharmaceutical patents for export
Compulsory licenses of pharmaceutical patents for export
The Community has adopted and published a regulation – Regulation 816/2006 – on compulsory licensing of patents relating to the manufacture of pharmaceutical products for export to countries with health problems.

This regulation sets up, within the EC, the system that had been foreseen in paragraph 6 of the Decision of the General Council of the WTO of August 30th, 2003 implementing the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and public health. It enters into force at the end of June 2006.

European patents and software October 4, 2006

Posted by mais in Patent, software.
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European patents and software

Things are getting curioser and curioser in the long drawn out debate on whether computer software is patentable or not. The Commission had proposed back in 2000 that computer software patents could be invalidated. Then in 2002 the Commission proposed that software should be patentable (see proposal COM (2002) 92 final Also here). The the European Parliament rejected that proposal (see generally, legislative history).

Now, the Commission in response to a parliamentary question (P-1625/06 by Adam Gierek) seems to indicate that

…the draft Community patent Regulation confirms in its Article 28.1(a) that patents granted for a subject matter (such as computer programs), which is excluded from patentability pursuant to Article 52 EPC, may be invalidated in a relevant court proceeding.

So it seems like the Commission is reverting to its position in 2000 and abandon the position it took when the EP rejected the software patent proposal.