Worldwide patent applications soar

March 26, 2002

Brussels, 25 March 2002

The global patent system is being tested by a significant rise in the number of worldwide patent applications, according to the assistant director general of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), Francis Gurry.

Mr Gurry said that during the 1990s, the number of applications rose from 1.78 million at the beginning of the decade to 7.1 million in 1999. He added, however, that this global rise did not correspond to the rise in initial patent applications, which rose only slightly from 624,000 to 751,000 over the same period.

This discrepancy, explained Mr Gurry, is due to the presentation of patent applications for new inventions in several countries at the same time, increasing overall figures but not the number of inventions. He added that this trend provides clear proof of the 'globalising effects' of intellectual property.

For further information on the WIPO, please consult the following web address:

CORDIS RTD-NEWS/© European Communities, 2001

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