09 February 2007

Patent Applications - Britain slips further down the League

In Press Release PR/476/200 the WIPO has reported a record year for patent filings: a 6.4% growth over the figure for 2005. Many countries did much better than that - China's growth was 56.8%, Korea's 26.6% and Italy's 16.1%. The USA was average with 6.1%. And the UK with such a "strong economy" as Tony Blair MP reminded us in Parliament yet again the day the figures were published. Well, um, er a 0.8% decline actually.

Britain now stands 6th in the PCT table with 5,045 applications - well behind the USA (49.555), Japan (26.906), Germany (16,929), Korea (5,935) and France (5,902). Not a single British company is in the top 50 PCT applicants. There is a Chinese company in the top 50 - Huawei with 575 applications - not to mention several Koreans, French, Scandinavians and a whole slew of Germans, Japanese and Americans. And we have an economy - some would have us believe - that is strong enough to quit the EU.

The government can't be happy with that performance otherwise the Treasury would never have commissioned Gowers. But what has Gowers actually recommended? Changing the name of the Patent Office to UK Intellectual Property Office is one. Raising public awareness of IP is another. As the late Tony Hancock might have put it "Stone the Crows".

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