What do the trends suggest?
The overall message of the report is that applicants have been shifting to different routes such as EPO and PCT for broader protection (considering the increase in number of application at the EPO). Therefore, this report on its own is not enough to be measured for innovation. However, in connection with the EPO applications, the trends suggest that the applicants are recognising the global effect of patent protection and looking for ways in line with this global view.
Key areas of applications according to the report are Civil engineering, Transportation, Computer Technology and Measurement forming nearly 25% percent of all publications in 2017. This trend is also in line with the technological developments and current demand (electric cars, blockchain technology, semi-conductor applications, re-usable rockets etc.)
Is there a notable Brexit effect?
Considering EPO is not a entity governed by European Union, the Brexit effect on patent applications is expected to be minimal and not as significant as more important decisions on the horizon such as the ratification of the Unified Patent Court (UPC). Also considering the slight but consistent increase of applications filed by non-residents since 2009 though to 2017, Brexit doesn’t appear to be a threat for patent applications in the UK.
Need to have IP protection in place?
The trends published by UKIPO justifies the strategy we as Wynne-Jones IP have been offering to our clients by initially filing at the UKIPO to determine the patentability of the invention and having a reliable search report prepared by the UKIPO, after which deciding to file at the EPO or via the PCT depending on our clients decision and strategy. Having such options provides applicants commercial flexibility, reassurance and extra time for certain strategic decisions as well.
Rather than focusing on the need for IP protection, the trends indicate which areas to look out for further innovative developments and investment possibilities. Especially considering the trends of countries focusing their attention to specific areas, this is a clear indication of presence of competitive markets.
For the full report on the Trends at theUK Intellectual Property Office between 1995-2017: Click here