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State of the World Wide Patent Situation for 2009

U.S. patent application figures trended modestly down. The preliminary total of 485,500 applications is down from the all time high of 496,886 set in 2008. The shift toward a majority of foreign applications has continued. Of the 190,121 total patents issued 96,395 (~ 51%) were foreign.


Japanese ~ 39.3%

Germany ~ 5.4%

South Korea ~ 4.9%

Taiwan ~ 4.2%

Canada ~ 2.3%

The majority of the remainder came from UK, France, China, Italy and the Netherland.

Patents Granted

China ~ 30.4%

Austria ~ 27.4%

Australia ~ 15.6%

Belgium ~ 12.4%

Korea ~ 11.8%

The majority of the remainder came from Finland, Israel, Canada, Taiwan, and Switzerland.

California was the U.S. leader with 22,973 patent granted (~ 25%) The other major state contributors as a percentage of all U.S. patents were:

Texas ~ 3.4%

New York ~ 3.3%

Washington ~ 2.4%

Massachusetts ~ 2.0%

Illinois ~ 1.9%

Michigan ~ 1.9%

New Jersey ~ 1.7%

Pennsylvania ~ 1.6%

Ohio ~ 1.6%

Patents issuing to U.S. Government agencies in 2009 – 685 patents granted – were down for the fourth year in a row with the Navy on top with 33.6% of the total.

PCT filings for 2009 saw a decrease in total filings of ~ 4.5% down to 155,900 applications. The overall decline was spurred by a U.S. decrease of ~ 11%. Generally, the EPC member states experienced an overall decline of ~ 5.7% with the exception of France and the Netherlands. China and Korea showed growth of 29.1% and 1.9%.

The trends reflect the worldwide economic downturn and a hardening of the patent grant process, particularly in Europe and the U.S. Internationally the Asian IP activity has increased significantly over the past five years with the Chinese topping the list. The Japanese continue to be significant contributors and remain the most expensive country for foreign entities to prosecute and maintain. U.S. patent application rates were at their high 2000 ( ~ 71% of the total ) and fell to their low in 2008 ( ~ 45% of the total). The good news is that the U.S. has started trending up once again.


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