Sat, Sep 19, 2009 - Page 12 News List

US inventors top world patents league


US inventors filed the biggest number of international patent requests last year, but their lead appeared to be slipping against Asian rivals in the first half of this year, the UN patent agency said yesterday.

The US filed 53,521 of the 163,600 patent applications that went through an international treaty overseen by the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) last year.

Under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, for a fee of about US$1,300 firms can file a request for patent protection in any of the 139 countries that subscribe to WIPO’S patent system — avoiding the need to make individual filings in each country. The US was far ahead of Japan’s 28,744 filings and Germany’s 18,428 last year.

In terms of individual filers, telecom company Huawei Technologies Co (華為科技) of China led the rankings with 1,737 applications last year, followed by Japanese electronics maker Panasonic Corp with 1,729 and Dutch Philips Electronics with 1,551.

The US corporation that filed most international patent applications was 11th-ranked Qualcomm Inc, with 907 applications.

“International patent applications from the United States so far for the first six months of this year were down by 14 percent,” WIPO director-general Francis Gurry said. “But from China they were up 19 percent.”

International patent filings worldwide appear to have dropped this year, he said.

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