As domestic business strategies expand to include foreign markets, so too must the patent portfolios designed to protect them. In their fourth annual report of global intellectual property trends, researchers from inovia learned that 50 percent of American firms and universities filed the majority of their patent applications overseas in 2012. That figure represents an approximate 20 percent annual increase.
In the survey of 125 schools and companies of various sizes, inovia found that respondents were equally as likely (both 33 percent) to file more than 75 percent of applications abroad as they were to file less than 25 percent abroad. Seven out of 10 entities filed in four or more countries as well - an 11 percent increase from 2011.
Not surprisingly, nearly all parties leveraged the Patent Cooperation Treaty framework during their international application processes. The fact that so many respondents filed in four or more locations may also be attributable to the financial break-even point associated with PCT procedures, according to inovia.
Moving forward, Europe, China and Japan will continue to be the primary targets of foreign filings among U.S.-based applicants, according to the report, though there could be an uptick in activity focused on the emerging markets of India and Brazil. In any case, respondents tapped navigating the logistics of new America Invents Act provisions and funding defensive patent strategies as their most significant challenges for 2013.