The PCT, or Patent Cooperation Treaty, is a treaty between 152 countries. It facilitates inventors’ filing their patent applications in foreign countries by providing a relatively inexpensive ‘date holder’ in all 152 countries until the inventor decides which foreign countries they want to pursue their patent applications in. This gives an inventor time to test the markets in various countries and choose the best ones for their business before spending a lot of money. WIPO is the World Intellectual Property Organization which oversees the PCT filings.
So what does an increase in PCT applications mean? It means that inventors around the world are planning to make and sell their inventions all over the world, even more so than in previous years, and they want patent protection. It means more international cooperation and possibly more trade.
The data for the top 10 countries is below. Of interest; while the US is still in the lead, China increased its PCT filings by 44% from 2015 to 2016!
From the WIPO press release (cited below):
“In an interlinked, knowledge-based global economy, creators and innovators are increasingly relying on intellectual property to promote and protect their competitive edge around the world,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “China-based filers are behind much of the growth in international patent and trademark filings, making great strides in internationalizing their businesses as the country continues its journey from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’.”
This data was taken from the World Intellectual Property Organization press release; the link is here: http://www.wipo.int/pressroom/en/articles/2017/article_0002.html
Country # of 2016 % of world % change % of world
PCT filings PCT filings from 2015 population
U.S. 56,595 24.3 -0.9 4.4
Japan 45,239 19.4 2.7 1.7
China 43,168 18.5 44.7 18.6
Germany 18,315 7.9 1.7 1.1
Rep. of Korea 15,560 6.7 6.8 0.7
France 8,208 3.5 -2.5 0.9
U.K. 5,496 2.4 3.9 0.9
Netherlands 4,679 2.0 8.0 0.2
Switzerland 4,365 1.9 2.3 0.1
Sweden 3,720 1.6 -3.2 0.1
Country population data from Wikipedia, link below: