The Japan Patent Office’s (JPO) 2010 Annual Report was published in May. The 200-page  report disclosed both domestic and international trends in applications, registrations, time for pendency, number of trials and other data of interest. The following are some of the highlights.

General Trends for 2009:

The number of patent applications filed in Japan has been teadily declining since 2006. In 2009, the number dropped for the 4th consecutive year totaling 348,596 (down 10% from the previous year)A similar downward trend is seen in trademark applications where the number dropped 7% from 119,185 to 110,841.

The Cause:

JPO cites the recession as a major factor in the decline in numbers. However, they also mentioned that there has been a shift in application strategies that has moved from “high volume” to“high quality”.

[Applications]

  2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Patents 436,865 439,175 421,044 413,092 423,081 427,078 408,674 396,291 391,002 348,596
New Utility Model 9,550 8,778 8,587 8,155 7,983 11,386 10,965 10,315 9,452 9,507
Designs 38,496 39,423 37,230 39,267 40,756 39,254 36,724 36,544 33,569 30,875
Trademarks 145,668 123,754 117,406 123,325 128,843 135,776 135,777 143,221 119,185 110,841

 “New Utility Model Applications” are applications that were filed under the new law in or after 1994 after the date of enforcement.

International Trends:

While the annual number of patent applications filed in Japan has been declining over the years, the number of international applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT applications)with the Japan Patent Office (JPO) as the receiving office has grown by.5% over the previous year.

[Patent PCT Applications]

  2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Patents 24,290 26,422 26,935 28,027 29,291

Other data of interest include:

  • The number of patent applications filed in Japan by foreign residence declined by 12% to 53,281.
  • The number of trademark applications filed in Japan by foreign residence was down 13.3% at 20,367.
  • The highest number of international applications by foreign residence by country are (1) United States at 22,367 (2) Germany at 6,602 (3) Republic of Korea at 4,782.
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