Thursday, December 22, 2011

ID filed across the world grew by 13%

In 2010, industrial design applications saw robust growth after slowing during the preceding two years. The number of applications filed across the world grew by 13%, mainly due to high growth in China which accounted for 83% of total growth. The IP office of China received around 70,000 additional applications in 2010 compared to 2009.

The total consists of 637,000 resident and 86,700 non-resident applications. The non-resident share (12% in 2010) has declined over time, due to high growth in China where residents account for the great majority of applications.

The IP office of Canada registered 20% growth in 2010 (as measured by the number of designs contained in applications). The IP offices of China (20%), Australia (14%), Spain (13%) and the US (12.6%) also saw substantial increases in application levels in 2010 . France and the Republic of Korea are the two major offices with slight declines in applications.

The share of China in the world total increased from 54% in 2009 to 58% in 2010, which is more than five times higher than the share of second largest office – OHIM. The IP offices of Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US together accounted for around 16% of the world total. -WIPO

Malaysia filed 35 trademark applications per billion GDP

The estimated total of 3.66 million trademark applications worldwide in 2010 consisted of 2.78 million resident and 0.88 million non-resident applications. The IP office of China accounted for three-fifths of the 11.8% growth in applications worldwide.

Most of the large offices returned to positive growth in applications in 2010, having seen declines the previous year. The IP office of China received around a quarter of a million additional applications in 2010 compared to 2009 – more than the number of total annual applications received by France, Germany, and the UK together. A number of other large offices saw double-digit growth in 2010, notably China Hong Kong (SAR) (18.3%), Mexico (16%), France (13.1%), OHIM (12.2%), Brazil (11.5%) and the Russian Federation (11.4%).

The picture is more mixed for offices in low- and middle -income economies. A number of Eastern European countries such as Estonia (-15.1%), Georgia (-13%) and Lithuania (-14.8%) saw considerable declines in applications, whereas several non-European countries, such as Argentina (17.1%), Madagascar (16%), Panama (24%) and South Africa (13.9%), saw rapid filing growth.

Residents of Germany filed around 1.9 million “equivalent applications” in 2010. Residents of China and the US also filed more than one million applications each. The reason for the high number of applications for German and US residents is their extensive use of the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) to seek protection in the EU. Each application at OHIM covers all EU member states, elevating the number of equivalent applications.

The Report shows that middle-income countries filed a higher number of trademark applications per GDP as compared to high-income countries. Chile filed 218 trademark applications per billion GDP in 2010. Bulgaria (166), Ecuador (157) and Viet Nam (128) also show high ratios of trademark filings per GDP, exceeding those for Germany (72), Japan (39) and the US (22). Malaysia filed 35 trademark applications per billion GDP in 2010. - WIPO

Mimos Ranked 11th among Government Research Institutions

The World IP Report provides a list of PCT top applicants among business, universities and government research institutions. Mimos made a surprise entry in government research institution category. According to the report, Mimos, ranked 256th among PCT applicants, manage to rank 11th among government research institutions.

The Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives (France) filed the largest number of PCT applications in the government and research institutions category. It is the only applicant with more than 300 applications. The Fraunhofer- Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. (Germany) ranks in second position and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) (France) third.

Mimos Berhad is a government research institution set up by the Malaysian government to spear head the country's research in information and communications technology.

Malaysia Ranked 32nd in Patent by Residents of Origin

According to World IP Report 2010, Malaysia ranked 32nd in patent application by residents of origin. Ranking of patent application by residents of origin is a measure to indicate a country's patent activity. Malaysia filed the most patent in South East Asia compared to Thailand (33), Singapore (37), and Vietnam (47).

Fillings by non residents are not considered in this ranking. The top rankings of countries of interest are China (1), Japan (2), USA (3), Republic of Korea (4), Germany (5), UK (8), India (13), and Australia (25).

For trademark fillings by residents of origin, Malaysia ranked 41. Vietnam (23) filed the most trademark in South East Asia compared to Thailand (28) and Singapore (52). The top rankings of countries of interest are China (1), USA (2), Germany (3), Russia (4), India (5), Republic of Korea (6), Japan (11), UK (12), and Australia (16).

For industrial design fillings by residents of origin, Malaysia ranked 41. Thailand (16) filed the most industrial design in South East Asia compared to Vietnam (33) and Singapore (43). The top rankings of countries of interest are China (1), Germany (2), Republic of Korea (3), Italy (4), Japan (5), UK (10), India (12), and Australia (20).

Note that Indonesia did not participate in the 2010 statistic.

China overtook Japan to become the 2nd largest recipient of patent applications in 2010

The World IP Report, which contains detailed statistical information on national and international data up to 2010, shows that China and the US accounted for four-fifths of the 7.2% worldwide growth in patent filings.

The US patent office saw 7.5% growth in 2010 - after two years of near zero growth - and received the largest total number of applications (490,226).

The patent office of China (391,177 filings) overtook the office of Japan (344,598 filings) to become the second largest recipient of patent applications in 2010. This mirrored wider economic trends in a year in which China overtook Japan to become the second largest economy in the world, as measured by GDP.

The majority of the top 20 offices saw growth in applications in 2010, in contrast to 2009. Double digit growth was reached in China (24.3%), the European Patent Office (12.2%), Singapore (11.9%) and the Russian Federation (10.2%).

In the past decade, the patent office of China has seen the most dramatic increases in application levels. Between 2001 and 2010, annual growth averaged 22.6%, with patent filings rising from 63,450 in 2001 to 391,177 in 2010.

Applications at the patent offices of middle and low-income economies also rebounded strongly in 2010 after falling in 2009. Colombia, Malaysia, Philippines, Ukraine and Vietnam saw double-digit growth in applications in 2010.

The Report also analyzes the numbers of filings by resident applicants. These show similar trends, with Chinese residents (293,066 applications) overtaking Japanese residents (290,081 applications) to become the most active patent filers in 2010.

Residents of Japan (172,945 applications) and the US (178,355 applications) filed, by far, the largest number of patent applications outside their own country. However, residents of Canada, Israel, the Netherlands and Switzerland filed more than 80% of their total applications abroad. Residents of China, on the other hand, filed only a small proportion (5%) of applications abroad.

Looking at patenting activity across different technology fields, the Report shows that computer technology, electrical machinery, audio-visual technology and medical technology accounted for the largest shares of patent filings worldwide. However, the relative importance of different technology fields varied substantially across countries. Broadly defined information communications and technologies (ICTs) accounted for the largest share of filings in Finland and Sweden, with pharmaceuticals more prominent in Belgium, India and Switzerland.

Patents granted (as distinct from patent applications filed) have recorded uninterrupted growth since 2000. In 2010, the total number of grants worldwide stood at 909,000 - an additional 100,000 grants over 2009 or growth of 12.4%. Resident grants accounted for two-thirds of the total increase. The patent offices of Japan and the US accounted for around 80% of total growth. The majority of the top 20 offices issued more patents in 2010 than in 2009.

The number of “potentially pending” patent applications across the world totaled 5.17 million in 2010, - a 3.3% reduction over 2009. The world total is based on data from 70 patent offices, which include most of the top 20 offices (with China among the exceptions). The patent office of Japan saw a significant reduction (-20%) in pending applications undergoing examination 2010. The EPO (-6.9%) and the US office (-2.3%) also had fewer pending applications in 2010 compared to 2009. Medium-sized offices, such as Chile (-11.6%), Israel (-8.8%), Mexico (-3.6%), Poland (-14.6%) and Ukraine (-5.9%) also saw considerable reductions in pending applications. -WIPO

IP Filings Worldwide Rebound in 2010 despite Economic Turmoil

A new report published by WIPO today shows that intellectual property (IP) filings worldwide rebounded strongly in 2010 after a considerable decline in 2009.

The recovery in IP filings was stronger than the overall economic recovery. Patent and trademark filings grew by 7.2% and 11.8% respectively in 2010 compared to growth of 5.1% in the global gross domestic product (GDP), with China and the United States (US) accounting for the greatest share of the increased filings.

In Europe, IP filing growth by France, Germany and the UK far exceeded the GDP growth rate of the three largest European economies in 2010.

The 7.2% growth in patent applications in 2010 - the highest growth rate in five years - followed a 3.6% decline in 2009. The total number of 1.98 million patent applications worldwide was an all time high. Similarly, trademark filings rose by 11.8% in 2010 to reach 3.66 million– another all time high – having fallen by 2.6% in 2009.

In his foreword to the 2011 World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) Report, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry notes that the upturn in IP filings shows that companies across the globe have been continuing to innovate. “This can help to create new jobs and generate prosperity once macroeconomic stability is restored,” he writes, while cautioning that “if economic conditions were to deteriorate sharply in the short term – as happened in 2009 – companies might be forced to curtail or abandon their investments in innovation, stifling an essential source of growth.” -WIPO

America Invents Act

On September 16, 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. Albert Tramposch, Director of International and Governmental Affairs at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), discusses the implications of this milestone in the history of the U.S. patent system.

The America Invents Act creates an innovation-friendly patent system that will reduce costs, level the playing field for businesses small and large, and spur economic growth. The new law enables a better-resourced USPTO to grant patent rights with greater speed, predictability, clarity, and quality.

Over the decades, patent law harmonization negotiations have contemplated a system with two major elements: (1) first-to-file and (2) a 12-month grace period (e.g., the draft Patent Law Treaty of 1991). On March 16, 2013, the U.S. will transition to a first-to-file (FTF) system to provide the transparency that banks, venture capitalists, and other investors need to invest in new businesses while establishing the stability that companies need to bring new products to globalized markets.

Along with a transition to a first-to-file system, the America Invents Act also provides for an improved grace period, which will help secure investment. Under the current system, an inventor who discloses an invention to a potential buyer or investor without entering into a confidentiality agreement risks losing patent rights. The new provisions allow the inventor to engage in critical negotiations with potential buyers or investors without fear of losing their right to a patent.

Provisional U.S. applications will continue to be available. Since 1995, inventors who wish to preserve their rights in their invention while evaluating its potential can do so by submitting a provisional application and paying a nominal fee, thereby establishing an internationally recognized priority date. The inventor may, within a 12-month period, convert that provisional application into a full U.S. application if the invention is worth pursuing.

The America Invents Act further harmonizes U.S. law by broadening the definition of prior art, eliminating the Hilmer doctrine and virtually eliminating the best mode requirement. The reform provides that prior art under U.S. law includes non-printed disclosures, including oral disclosures, made available to the public anywhere in the world. New provisions also provide an incentive for early disclosure (i.e., one year or less before the effective filing date) by insulating inventors who disclose their inventions against third party disclosures, if the inventor’s disclosure precedes that of a third party. The elimination of the Hilmer doctrine ensures that patents and published applications filed in the U.S. are prior art as of the earliest effective filing date to which they are entitled to claim a right of priority. Additionally, the earliest effective filing date is no longer limited to only U.S. filings; it can now also originate from a foreign filing. The new U.S. law also eliminates the best mode requirement as a defense in infringement actions in court and USPTO post-grant review.

The law supports small businesses and independent inventors by creating a pro bono program in conjunction with intellectual property law associations. The law also requires the USPTO to maintain a Patent Ombudsman Program to provide patent filing services to qualifying small businesses and independent inventors. Additionally, to help foster innovation by independent inventors and universities, various fees are reduced for micro-entities. Transitioning to an FTF system will also support small businesses in attracting the investments they need to startup their operations and bring new products to market. -WIPO Magazine

Apple scores limited victory in smartphone patent war

Apple Inc scored a narrow victory against Taiwan’s HTC Corp in a patent lawsuit over smartphone technology that will set the stage for further battles between the rival makers in the fiercely competitive market.

In a case seen as a proxy for a larger fight between Google Inc’s Android operating system and Apple’s iOS, the US International Trade Commission ruled that HTC infringed on one of four patents Apple had disputed and imposed a sales ban on some of the Taiwan maker’s phones.

While the ruling is unlikely to hurt HTC as much as initially feared because it will have time to work around the offending technology and has until April before the ban becomes effective, it offers Apple ammunition to pursue other makers it believes infringe on its technology.

“This is one skirmish in one battle, which is forming a much larger war and each side has got some ammunition left,” said David Wilson, a London-based partner at the intellectual property group with Herbert Smith LLP.

The patent in question, ‘647, relates to technology that helps users clicking on phone numbers and other types of data in a document, such as an email, to either dial directly or click on the data to bring up more information.

As it is widely used in almost all smartphones, industry experts foresee similar rulings should Apple bring other cases. -Reuters

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Notice of Amendment (Industrial Design Regulations 1999)

MyIPO has issued a notice that the Industrial Design Regulations will be amended in January 2012. New scale of fees will be introduced by the amendment. This is not a surprising move; in February 2011, the Patent Regulations and Trade Mark Regulations were amended to accommodate new schedule of official fees (increase of up to 40%). Any design protection may still be initiated this year before the price increase.