OECD Compendium of Patent Statistics 2005 (link)

February 6, 2006

Paris, 03 Feb 2006

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The Compendium of Patent Statistics 2005 provides the latest available internationally comparable data on patents. Patent indicators presented in this publication are specifically designed to reflect recent trends in innovative activities across a wide range of OECD member and non-member countries. Patent-based statistics reflect the inventive performance of countries, regions, firms, as well as other aspects of the dynamics of the innovation process (e.g. co-operation in innovation or technology paths). Patent indicators, along with other science and technology indicators, thus contribute to our understanding of the innovation system and factors that support economic growth. For example, using the inventors' address, indicators can be developed to monitor the internationalisation of and international collaboration in science and technology (S&T) activities.

The results presented in this document reflect the efforts of the OECD and its task force on patent statistics to improve the quality and availability of patent statistics for researchers and policy makers. The focus of OECD work in this area is not only limited to the development of patent indicators; efforts are also made to develop methodologies and guidelines for compiling and interpreting patent indicators, and to improve accessibility of such information for users. Statistics reported in this publication differs from data published in other sources, such as patent office data. This is mainly due to methodology. OECD's patent indicators are designed to reflect inventive activity, whereas patent data reported in annual reports of patent offices (e.g. EPO, JPO, USPTO, etc.) are designed to reflect their patenting activity and are primarily for administrative purposes (e.g. budget planning). Therefore, the data reported here should not be compared with those published by patent offices.

The 2005 edition is the third edition in an annual series. With each edition, a continued effort is made to provide new or improved patent indicators for international comparisons. The 2005 edition includes 10 new indicators on internationalisation of innovation and the level of innovation in specific technology areas (as measured by patenting). The electronic version of this document, together with Excel spreadsheets containing the data used in charts and graphs, is available (free of charge) on the OECD patent statistics Web site: www.oecd.org/sti/ipr-statistics

The OECD's patent statistics work is conducted in close co-operation with the members of the task force on patent statistics. The task force is managed by the OECD and includes representatives from the European Commission (EC), the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japanese Patent Office (JPO), the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This work has greatly benefited from support of those institutions.

This edition was prepared by Hélène Dernis and Mosahid Khan of the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry. Dirk Pilat, Colin Webb and Dominique Guellec offered comments and suggestions on the draft.



  • The number of patents filed at the European Patent Office (EPO) increased from around 60 000 in 1991 to 110 000 in 2002 (counts based on priority date, see box below). Similarly, patents granted by the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) increased from around 107 000 in 1991 to 221 000 in 2002. There was a slowdown in the number of EPO patent filings and USPTO patent grants in 2001 and 2002. The latest available partial data show an acceleration in EPO patent filings and USPTO patent grants in 2003-04.

  • The PCT procedure is increasingly being used for patent applications. The number of PCT applications increased from around 24 000 in 1991 to 110 000 in 2002.

  • Inventions protected in the three main OECD regions as measured by triadic patent families (Europe, Japan and the United States) increased from around 30 000 in 1991 to 51 500 in 2002.

  • Patenting activity is more concentrated than R&D activity. In 2002, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States accounted for 84% of all triadic patent families, compared to 78% of OECD's R&D expenditure.

  • The number of triadic patents per million USD of industry-financed research and development expenditure (R&D) for the European Union and Japan is similar and higher than that of the United States.

  • Biotechnology and ICT contributed more than average to the overall surge in patenting. Between 1991 and 2001, biotechnology and ICT patents filed at the EPO increased by 8.3% and 7.6% a year respectively, compared to 5.7% for all EPO patent applications.

  • The United States is specialised in biotechnology and ICT-related patents, and Japan is specialised in ICT-related patents. Singapore, Finland and Korea are the most specialised in ICT-related patents, while Denmark and Canada are the most specialised in biotechnology patents.

  • During the 1990s, there has been an increase in the level of internationalisation (foreign ownership of domestic inventions) and international collaboration (patents with foreign co-inventors) of innovative activities. The general trend points to a higher level of internationalisation in ICT-related inventions than for other inventions and a higher level of international collaboration in biotechnology inventions than for other inventions.

  • Non-member countries, such as Brazil, China, India and the Russian Federation have a high level of internationalisation compared to large OECD countries. For example, 62% of the Russian Federation's EPO patents are owned or co-owned by foreign residents. Japan and Korea are the least internationalised OECD countries. For example, only 3.7% of Japanese EPO patents are owned or coowned by foreign residents and only 3% of Japanese EPO patents include at least one foreign inventor.

  • The breakdown of internationalisation indicators by partner country shows that common language, historical links and geographical proximity play an important role in determining partner countries. For example, a breakdown of foreign ownership shows that the United Kingdom is the main EU partner country for Australia, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand. Similarly, the main EU partner country for Denmark, Finland and Norway is another Nordic country.


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