Protecting intellectual property in economic uncertainty – the Chinese lead by example

Last year was was a pretty grim year for economic activity.  However, while intellectual property did not avoid the effects, a recent report from the the World International Property Organisation (“WIPO”) provided some interesting findings. The number of international patent filings dropped, probably not unexpectedly, by 4.5% in 2009, with countries such as the US and Germany experiencing significant declines of over 11%.  However, it appears that not all countries were negatively affected, with applications in China increasing by 29.7% during 2009.

The data released by WIPO also revealed that while the number of filings in the area of computer technologies, pharmaceuticals and medical technologies observed the biggest declines, semiconductors and nano-technology experienced a significant increase in patent applications during the same period. 

Interestingly, Francis Gurry, WIPO’s Director General, thought that the 2009 decline in PCT filings was not as severe as anticipated. Importantly for those who have valuable intellectual property, WIPO also reminded us all that protecting commercially viable IP internationally remains critical, regardless of global economic conditions.

Perhaps it is even more critical in these times.


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