Yesterday, WIPO released its annual World Intellectual Property Indicators 2018 report. At 230 pages, this report has new features such as interactive charts, more visual representations of IP right flows, patent litigation, number of women inventors, years of experience of examiners in major offices and the latest trends in global intellectual property (IP) filing activity covering patents, utility models, trademarks, industrial designs, plant varieties, geographical indications and the creative economy.

Overall, patent, utility models and industrial design growth was negligible, plant varieties grew by 11.7 % and trade marks grew by 26.8%. It is the first time the geographical indications figures were published and data on global publishing revenue or figures was attempted (by survey).

How did Australia fare?

More foreign filers than domestic

Compared to the larger IP Offices, Australia, Canada, India and the U.S. reported a high share of non-resident filings. Australia had negative growth rate of women inventors in PCT patents (-3.6%), average patent examiner experience was set at 9.8 years and the average age of a patent in force in Australia is 7.7 years.

Australian residents IP activity was ranked out of 150 countries.

  • Australia was 24th for patents, 17th for trade marks and 20th for designs.
  • New Zealand was 35th for patents, 40th for trade marks and 55th for designs.

Australian top applicants using international treaties (PCT/Madrid):

  • Patents: CSIRO, Cochlea, Monash Uni, Newsouth Innovations, Resmed Ltd, University of Sydney, University of Queensland, Xard Group, ANU & Macquarie Uni.
  • Trade Marks: Moose CreativeManagement, One Zero, Southcorp Brands, Liquorland, Atlassian, Peter Alexander Sleepwear, Scenic Tours, Straxcorp, Zambrero Australia & ATP Institute.

The Australian profile can be viewed HERE. The Australian Global Innovation Index 2018 (broader innovation factors) ranks Australia at 20th and New Zealand at 22nd.

Patent Litigation Data

The ability of patent right holders to enforce their rights when those rights are infringed is an important aspect of a valuable patent system. Generally the report is fairly silent on patent litigation decreasing in the US and EU an increasing in Asia.

General trends are:

  • Software and computer technology treatment as business methods lowers litigation;
  • Delay in the introduction of the Unitary Patent Court in Europe;
  • Increase in China litigation based on increasing enforcement, less for patents than other IPR;
  • Ongoing trend for parties litigating in China, Japan, Europe, and US at the same time;
  • Parties focus on jurisdictions where being able to win an injunction quickly is likely, particularly for SMEs;
  • Portfolio management, clever acquisition strategies, and the effective use of patent litigation strategies continue to command boardroom attention and have become key factors in successful business development strategies.

It was interesting to read WIPO’s comparison of the major jurisdictions (where Australia is similar to the UK) was particularly interesting in terms of costs. (figure below)

Technology most likely to end up in patent litigation? (Helmes 2018)

  • Computer Technology
  • Telecommunications
  • Electrical Machinery
  • Audio-visual technology
  • Digital Communications
  • Transport
  • Medical technology
  • Pharmaceuticals

What were the global filing trends?

Asia acquired the largest market share of IPR filing

a) Patents – China growth (no growth in US/Japan)

Asia strengthened its position as the region with the greatest activity in patent filings.

  • Asia received 65.1% of all applications filed worldwide in 2017 (+49.7% in 2007)
  • North America and Europe share declined, North America now has 20.3% and Europe has 11.2%.
  • Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Oceania was 3.4% in 2017.

Inventors filing patents abroad came from: U.S, Japan, Germany, the Republic of Korea and China. Patent applications were most likely to be rejected in UK/US and accepted in Australia and Russia.

Technologies most featured in patent applications:

  1. Computer technology (remains the most frequently featured)
  2. Electrical machinery
  3. Digital communications (not AV communications or optics)
  4. Measurement
  5. Medical technology

Growth in patents were: food chemistry, materials/metallurgy & digital communications

b) Trade Marks – Asia growth (no growth in US/Japan)

Asian Offices accounted for 66.6% of all trademark filing activity in 2017. Europe’s share declined to 17.7%, North America to 6.4%, while the combined share of Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Oceania was 9.2%.

Countries with the highest volumes of filing were:

  • China 5.7 million (+55.2% growth)
  • U.S. 613,921
  • Japan 560,269 (+24.2% growth),
  • European Union 371,508
  • Islamic Republic of Iran 358,353 (+87.9% growth)

Trade marks were filed in:

  • advertising and business management services (cl 35)
  • clothing (cl 25)
  • computers, software and instruments (cl 9)
  • education and entertainment services (cl 41)

The Nice classes can be grouped into 10 industry sectors. Low filings were chemicals & transport, highest industries were:

  • agriculture,
  • research and technology
  • business services
  • clothing

c) Designs – Applications are growing and China has 50.6% or worldwide share

Asia accounted for more than two-thirds (67.9%) of all designs in applications filed worldwide in 2017, followed by Europe (24.4%), North America (4.2%), Africa (1.5%), Latin America and the Caribbean (1.2%), and Oceania (0.7%).

Aside from China, increases in designs were: UK, Spain, Switzerland, EUIPO and Japan.

Designs were frequently filed for:

  • furnishings
  • clothing
  • packages and containers

The major industries filing for designs were:

  • advertising,
  • furniture and household goods
  • textiles and accessories
  • leisure and education,
  • packaging
  • transport

d) Plant Varieties – China grew over 50% to be the top filing office, US dropped

China became the top filing office in 2017, receiving 4,465 plant variety applications, followed by: European Union (3,422), U.S. (1,557), Ukraine (1,345) and Japan (1,019). Growth was seen in China, Ukraine, Japan and EU, whilst U.S. reported a 2.9% drop in filings.

e) Geographical Indications – Germany has the largest no. in force

GIs are signs used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin, such as Gruyère for cheese or Tequila for spirits.

In 2017, there were 59,500 geographical indications (GIs) in force worldwide.

Largest numbers:

  • Germany (14,073)
  • Austria (8,749)
  • China (8,507)
  • Hungary (6,646)
  • Czech Republic (6,191).

There were 4,932 European Union GIs in force in each of the EU member states.

GIs in force related to:

  • “wines and spirits” (57%)
  • agricultural products and food stuffs (28.2%)
  • handicrafts (2.7%)

f) Publishing Industry – Too incomplete to determine

Revenue generated by the three sectors (trade, educational and scientific, technical and medical) of the publishing industry of 11 countries was surveyed and amounted to USD 248 billion. This data is incomplete, however the U.S. sold 2,693 million copies of published titles in 2017, followed by the U.K. (647 million), Brazil (617 million) and France (430 million).

Largest revenues:

  • China (USD 202.4 billion),
  • U.S. (USD 25.9 billion),
  • Germany (USD 5.8 billion)
  • U.K. (USD 4.7 billion)

Digital Editions and total trade revenue:

  • 3% China,
  • 5% Japan,
  • 4% Sweden,
  • 2% Finland,
  • 9% U.S.