Computer tech tops list of worldwide patent applications
Industrial design rights applications are also rising -- but Apple, an aggressive asserter of such rights, files relatively few applications
IDG News Service - Computer technology accounted for more patent applications in recent years than any other industry sector tracked by the World Intellectual Property Organization, although the number of digital communication patent applications grew faster. Industrial design registrations are also growing -- and while Apple aggressively asserts its design rights in courtrooms, it does not file the most applications for such rights.
The number of patent applications worldwide topped 2 million for the first time in 2011, WIPO said in a report on worldwide intellectual property registrations, released Tuesday. It noted that applications to register industrial design rights also rose sharply that year.
WIPO gathered application data from patent and trademark offices around the world, breaking it down by industry sector and country. One source, the European Patent Office's PATSTAT database, had not broken down 2011 data by sector at the time of its last update in April, so WIPO's per-industry analysis ends in 2010.
Filings for computer technology patents rose by 1.9 percent a year between 2006 to 2010, reaching a peak of 129,952 in 2009 before falling back to 126,897 in 2010, according to the WIPO report.
Patent filings on digital communication technologies grew faster, though, at 8.1 percent, rising to 71,499 applications in 2010.
Besides patent applications, the WIPO also looked at industrial design rights applications by technology firms. Design rights are closely linked to patents and were the subject of numerous disputes in 2012, WIPO said.
"Frequently, these disputes focus on the infringement of patents and the underlying technological inventions. Yet some of the highest profile conflicts relating to smartphones and tablet computers have centered on product designs," the organization said. Courts worldwide are making decisive judgments on which designs can be protected and what constitutes infringement of a design right, it added.
Ericsson, for example, recently announced it was suing Samsung for patent infringement, asking a U.S. judge to block sales of Samsung Electronics products such as the Galaxy S III smartphone and the Galaxy Note II in the U.S. And earlier this year Samsung was ordered by a jury to pay over $1 billion to Apple for patent infringement.
Samsung has also been fighting in the courts with Apple, which says Samsung copied its iPad tablet design.
Companies such as Samsung, LG, Research in Motion, Panasonic, Sony, Microsoft and Foxconn consistently emerged as the top users of design patents in the electronics, ICT and software industries in 2011, the WIPO said.
Apple, though, wasn't the biggest user of industrial design rights in 2011, WIPO data reveals. It ranked sixth for industrial design registrations in the U.S. in 2011, with 122 registrations, behind Samsung (328), LG (236) and Microsoft (182). For seven other major registries, WIPO counted industrial design applications, not registrations, and in those countries Apple did not make the top 10 at all.
- In Apple v. Samsung, it's a 'holy war' for $2B
- A day into the trial, Apple and Samsung already annoying each other
- Supreme Court justices raise questions about software patents
- Phil Schiller up again in next round of Apple-Samsung battle
- Nokia and HTC bury hatchet in patent disputes
- How about them apples: Google and Samsung ink patent deal
- Samsung's Apple damages equal to just 16 days' profit
- Supreme Court to get software patent case
- The latest move to kill bad patents divides tech industry
- Judge refuses to stay Apple-Samsung lawsuit pending patent review
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- How WAN Optimization Helps Enterprises Reduce Costs If you wanted to break down innovation into a tidy equation, it might go something like this: Technology + Connectivity = Productivity. Productivity...
- Redefine Your IT Operations: Remote Office IT Has Never Been Simpler Join us to see why PC Pro named Dell PowerEdge VRTX the "2013 Server of the Year." PowerEdge VRTX may be just what...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users? All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!