Patent filing is back on the rise – WIPO publishes two valuable reports

By James Taylor

Two reports published by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) demonstrate that patent filing is back on the rise and is of increasing value to stakeholders. This is interesting news for biotech startups and other companies who’s value is often determined by their cutting edge intellectual property.

Each year, WIPO publishes an extensive report detailing patent filing trends based on a survey of more than 80 countries to collect currently unpublished data. In December 2011, WIPO published their latest data on macro-level trends observed in 2010. This year’s report entitled “World Intellectual Property Indicators” shows that patent flings have increased 7% worldwide after seeing a 4% decline in 2009. Filings in China and the US account for 4/5 of the growth, consistent with the rapid change in Chinese activity in recent years. While PCT applications (International patent applications) declined for the first time in 2009 by 4.8%, there was a 5.7% increase in 2010. This increase is driven by filings from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, collectively accounting for 94% of growth.

In a complementing report “The Changing Face of Innovation” WIPO takes a broader perspective to discuss the role of IP in global innovation and economic development. Here WIPO explores the relationships between IP and the translation and accessibility of knowledge, as a measure of firm and international collaboration, and its increasing value to firms. Of note, WIPO shows that cross border licensing trade has increased from 28 billion of international licensing and royalty fees in 1990 to 180 billion in 2009.

These reports are filled with valuable and interesting data on patent filing trends cut geographically, by residency and by very high level technology segments and are a fantastic resource for quick access to high level data. This year’s report on “World Intellectual Property Indicators” also includes a special section that examines some of the underlying characteristics to the “surge” in patent activity seen between 1995 and 2008 such as influence of geography, R&D spend and complexity of technology.

These trends demonstrate the increasing value placed on intellectual property and the significant amount of monies spent. For biotechnology startups, revenues are often a figment of projections and company value dominated by the quality of the intellectual property. The increasing global adoption of IP bodes well for biotech startups, particularly those that are developing innovative technologies and products.

The full report segmented into chapters, data tables and the special report can be found at WIPO:

  • World Intellectual Property Indicators: (link, pdf)
  • The Changing Face of Innovation: (link)

Reposted from BiotechStart.

James is the co-founder and CEO of Precision NanoSystems and Editor in Chief of  His diverse background includes avid interest in Biotech, Technology, Finance, VC, etc.
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