Recently released statistics from the Indonesian Intellectual Property Office (DGIP) show that patent applications continued their growth in 2012, the most recent year for which figures are available.

Despite these increases, questions remain as to the current state of Indonesia’s desired transition to a knowledge economy due to continued low numbers of patents filed by domestic applicants.

Published on its website and in its recently issued 2012 Annual Report, the Indonesian IP Office has stated that the total number of patent applications filed in Indonesia for 2012 was 7,032. This is an increase of 14.7% from 2011, when 6,130 such applications where filed. More generally, total applications filed have increased approximately 45% since 2009.

Historically, patent filings in Indonesia have been fueled in large part by foreign filers. For example, in 2011, foreign filers accounted for approximately 87.3% of all patent applications filed in Indonesia. Conversely, domestic Indonesian entities filed only 13 PCT applications in 2011. The recently released statistics do not provide any update on these trends.

Regionally, the 2012 numbers place Indonesia near the top of its fellow ASEAN members, behind only Singapore (9,685) and Thailand (8,232) in terms of total applications filed based on WIPO statistics. Malaysia and Vietnam, with 7,027 and 4,050 patent applications filed respectively, round out the top five in Southeast Asia.

Further afield however, the numbers indicate Indonesia’s continuing difficulties in making the transition to a knowledge-based economy on par with the world’s advanced countries. With the world’s 16th largest economy, Indonesia is a member of the G-20 economic grouping, yet has the lowest number of patents filed by domestic entities of any G-20 country.

Further government support and funding of education and advanced research are clearly needed, though other efforts, such as increased awareness of intellectual property in general, are likewise essential.

Interestingly, the Indonesian IP Office also released for the first time statistics indicating the fields of technology claimed by patent applications in 2012. Utilizing the International Patent Classification (IPC), the top five sections claimed in 2012 were:

  1. A: Human Necessities (4,164 applications);
  2. C: Chemistry, Metallurgy (4,163 applications);
  3. B: Performing Operations, Transporting (2,514 applications);
  4. F: Mechanical Engineering, Lighting, Heating, Weapons (1,302 applications); and
  5. H: Electricity (1,279 applications).     

While limited, these statistics allow for a deeper level of insight into recent trends regarding patent filings in Indonesia.