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2003 International Patent Requests Hit Record

By Agence France-Presse Requests for international patents reached a record 113,249 last year, of which more than one-third came from the United States, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The requests for consideration by the Patent Cooperation Treaty, which provides for patents applicable in WIPO's 123 member countries, rose 2% from 2002. Around 80% of those requests were granted, the organization said. The United States represented 36% of all requests, a small but steady decline from 37% in 2002, 40% in 2001 and 41% in 2000, according to WIPO Deputy Director General Francis Gurry. "It is a very good measure of the technological capability of countries," says Gurry. The U.S. requests totaled 41,056 in 2003. Japanese inventors put in the second biggest number of requests last year, with 15% of the total. They surpassed Germans for the first time, while Britain and France were third and fourth. The United States, Japan and the 27-member European Patent Convention accounted for 84% of all patent requests, WIPO said, adding that it marked a slight drop in favor of developing countries. Those accounted for 11% of the requests. "This is a reasonably small number, but a very positive sign," Gurry notes. In order on WIPO's list of developing countries were South Korea, China, India, South Africa, Singapore, Brazil and Mexico. Broken down by company, the Dutch group Philips turned in the most patent requests, followed by Siemens of Germany and Matsushita of Japan. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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