inovia, a member of the RWS Group and the world’s leading foreign filing provider, recently published their annual IP benchmark report, The 2015 Global Patent & IP Trends Indicator. Now in its sixth year, the Indicator has become a go-to resource for identifying the trends that have the greatest impact on the foreign filing strategies of global patentees.
The results were generated from a survey of over 130 companies and universities conducted by inovia in May 2015. This year, inovia included both European and US respondents to achieve a more robust focus group. Previously, only individuals from the United States were surveyed. Including Europeans not only widened the perspective of responses but also solidified the report as a truly global resource for patent professionals.
Respondents represented a diverse range of industries and sizes, ranging from small enterprises (34% with 1-100 employees) to multinational corporations (21% with more than 10,000 employees). All respondents are involved in the strategy and planning of patent activity at their organizations, with job functions ranging from General Counsel to CEO.
For applicants throughout the world, patent reform was the dominating issue in 2014. For US respondents, changes associated with the America Invents Act (AIA) gave patent owners much to consider last year. The switch from first-to-invent to first-to-file in March of 2013 was still a challenge felt by applicants as they had to rethink how to approach their filing strategies.
In Europe, respondents cited upcoming changes associated with the unitary patent as the main topic concerning professionals. The agreement was established in 2012 as a way to guarantee patent protection in 25 countries throughout Europe. The impact and success of the unitary patent has yet to be seen as the act is still being ratified by EU member states. Once the agreement is officially implemented, an enormous change in how to file throughout Europe will be felt.
All applicants used the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) for some or all of their foreign filings (up from 96% in 2013). No respondents cited only filing via the Paris Convention, proving the PCT as the overwhelmingly dominant method when given the choice between the two.
When deciding between the PCT vs. the Paris Convention applicants discussed the cost-savings break-even point when considering the two methods: the more countries you file into, the more cost effective the PCT is. However, when filing into fewer countries, using the Paris Convention is the preferred route. Lastly, many respondents left this decision to the recommendation of their counsel and others noted that this is a decision that each business unit makes independently.
Up from last year, 72% of respondents filed into 4 or more countries, showing an increase in the number of average filing destinations per patent family. From this pool, 11% filed into an average of 13 or more jurisdictions in 2014.
Click here to download a complimentary version of the complete report.