The World Intellectual Property Organization announced on Friday that the one millionth international patent application had been filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). This took just 26 years from the PCT system going live in 1978. Said WIPO Director-General Kamal Idris:
"One million international patent applications translates into one million pieces of technology that have entered the public domain for the benefit of society at large. This reflects the contribution that the intellectual property system makes to spurring technological development and expanding the pool of public knowledge. While it took 22 years to receive the first half million PCT patent applications, it took only 4 years to top the one million mark, reflecting an astonishing acceleration in the pace of technological development and unprecedented use of the international patent system. This is a strong indication of the strategic importance of patents to business and broad-based recognition that the PCT offers a smart business solution for companies seeking international patent protection".The PCT facilitates the process of obtaining patent protection in more than 120 countries through the filing of a single international application. The organisation declined to give details about the one millionth application. The top users of the system come from the United States, with 35.7 per cent of requests in 2003, followed by Japan (15.2 per cent) and Germany (12.7 per cent). But the steepest increase since 2000 has been in Asian countries, notably China and South Korea, according to WIPO data. Major electronics corporations are the biggest users, led by the Dutch firm Philips with almost 10,000 applications between 1995 and 2003, Germany's Bosch group and Matsushita of Japan.
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