The World Intellectual Property Organization recently released its latest summary of facts and figures synthesized from 90 IP offices around the world. The comprehensive report contains several significant revelations concerning patents, utility models and industrial designs. But the findings that have attracted the most attention relate to the growing importance of trademarking.
According to WIPO analysts, trademark protection has become the most sought-after form of intellectual property, garnering an average of 3 million applications per year since 2005. Much of this activity appears to be centered in Asia, with China, India, Japan and South Korea accounting for 37 percent of all trademark applications.
Additionally, international trademark registrations have rebounded from previous plateaus, growing nearly 5 percent between 2009 and 2010. Analysts suggested that this may have been a product of the additional administrative resources dedicated to processing a growing queue of applications.
The research also noted several important trends in the patenting segment, with Japanese applications declining nearly 11 percent between 2008 and 2009 as Chinese applications increased by nearly 9 percent.
During that same period, U.S. patent applications remained nearly unchanged. However, this may be a factor of the recession's harsh impact on small businesses. Firms around the country are now hoping that recent legislative efforts will streamline the domestic patenting process and reduce the red tape that many view as an obstacle to innovation.