I have just had a look at WIPO's yearly review of the international patent system - well, the pictures and tables anyway.
It appears that we rank 12th (1,846 or 1.5%) for number of international applications filed in 2004. We are behind:
1. United States (42,713 or 35.2%)
2. Japan (20,167 or 16.6%)
3. Germany (15,214 or 12.5%)
4. France (5,115 or 4.2%)
5. United Kingdom (5,039 or 4.2%)
6. Netherlands (4,196 or 3.5%)
7. Republic of Korea (3,553 or 2.9%)
8. Switzerland (2,837 or 2.3%)
9. Sweden (2,831 or 2.3%)
10. Italy (2,189 or 1.8%)
11. Canada (2,107 or 1.8%)
I must say, I am not sure what to make of that. According to a nifty site I found, the United States has a population of 295 million, while Australia has a population of 20 million. That means that in the US, there are 6,906 people per international application while in Australia there are 10,834 people per international application. In other words, the yanks are more inventive than the aussies. Come on, fellow citizens, get it going! I would like to retire in comfort, please.
The relevant website is www.wipo.int/pct/en/activity/pct_2004.pdf.There is also a promising graph on page 3 which indicates a fairly consistent growth in the number of overall filings.
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