In the US, just over half of new patent applications originate from US inventors. (Based on country of first named inventor) That number has changed dramatically since 1965 when more than 75% of US applications had US origins. [Link] If the trend continues, the US will soon issue more patents to non-US inventors than to US inventors.
The EPO has already dropped below the 50% margin — Only 42% of EPO applications originate in Europe. And, the US is the most frequent country of origin for EPO applications when compared country by country. [Link] Japan’s figures make the USPTO & EPO appear overwhelmingly egalitarian. In Japan, 72% of the filed patent applications originate in Japan.
Issues & Notes:
- The graph posted comes from a recent OECD report on patent statistics.
- How will the US patent lobby fare politically when most new patents are held by foreign companies?
- Why are relatively few non-Japanese applications filed in Japan? Does Japan benefit from a structure where few foreign patents are issued or enforced?