You may not be aware of the IP5 offices, but given the context of this newsletter you will not be surprised that the "IP" indicates "intellectual property". The "5" offices were originally three in 1983: Europe, Japan and the US, then four in 2008 with the inclusion of Korea, and China took the total to five in 2011. These are the world's five largest intellectual property offices. With input from the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), they cooperate to improve the efficiency of patent examination worldwide, following a vision of "the elimination of unnecessary duplication of work among the offices, enhancement of patent examination efficiency and quality, and guarantee of the stability of patent right". A product of this effort is the annual publication of a statistical report on patent-related data from the five offices and the rest of the world.

The IP5 Statistics Report 2013

This report provides a wealth of information on patenting around the world, broken up by topics such as region, subject matter and patent prosecution stages.

Headline facts

  • 8.5 million patents were in force worldwide at the end of 2012, the IP5 offices being responsible for 90% of these.
  • In 2013, the IP5 accepted 2.1 million patent applications for filing (up 11%) and granted 956,644 patents (up 4%). China saw the greatest annual increase in filings (26.4%) and Korea in grants (12.2%).
  • Considering broad definitions of technology areas, and excepting China where chemistry is most common, electrical engineering dominates patent filings in all the offices: almost 50% of US applications.
  • In the US almost 50% of all patents are still in force at the end of the 20 year term, compared to less than 5% in Korea.

You can find the full report at: www.fiveipoffices.org/statistics.html