07 February 2017
Geneva
Reporter: Barney Dixon

WIPO publishes three millionth patent application


The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has published its three millionth international patent application.

It was filed under WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which began in 1978 with 18 contracting states but has since grown to 151.

WIPO director general Francis Gurry said in a memo announcing the news that the PCT has developed into the “central pillar of the international patent system, the primary vehicle for applicants seeking patent protection internationally”.

“It is one of WIPO’s key assets, accounting for 76 percent of its revenue and enabling the financing and development cooperation programme of the organisation and of many of its other programmes, and there is every expectation that its growth and vitality will continue.”

He also outlined how the treaty will need to further evolve as a tool to support innovation.

Gurry said that the PCT requires major reforms, including greater transparency and development of an international legal framework.

Further, he said that offices need to increase patent quality and accept a closer public scrutiny of their work.

He said: “The past 15 years have seen enormous improvements to the PCT system driven by changes to the legal framework.”

“However, the further progress which can be driven by such changes is limited. The key to future improvements lies in putting renewed emphasis on the ‘cooperation’ aim which underpins the treaty.”

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