Law

Poorly conceived patent applications hinder inventions

There is a trend proliferating: With increasing frequency, companies are attempting to register even small changes to an already introduced product as a patent. Although, often without success. Only one in four applications are accepted. It is the truly innovative developer who must bear the consequence, in the form of a longer processing time with the patent authorities. Experts at the OECD therefore warn, in their publication "Science, Technologie and Industry Scoreboard 2011", that patent applications of lower quality could delay the introduction of innovations to the market.

According to information from the OECD, that the USA, Japan and Germany continue to top the table in terms of global patent applications issued to the European Patent Office. While the proportion of German patents has remained stable at 70,000, the proportion of Japanese and American patents has noticeably fallen, meaning that the percentage share held by these three countries from 70 percent in 2000 to 60 percent in 2005. At the same time, the total number of patents registered with the European Patent Office has increased. The reason behind this is the considerable application activity regarding high-quality inventions in China, India and Korea since 2000.

To provide concrete figures, according to the OECD report, the USA was still the most productive in terms of research and development with 400 billion patents in 2009. Measured based on the gross domestic product, the Fins with four percent and the Swedes with 3.6 percent are the world champions in innovation.

Europe makes a considerable contribution through progress in the fields of renewable energies, nanotechnology and IT methodology. Germany demonstrates particular strengths with patents regarding solar energy. Further information: www.oecd-ilibrary.org

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