HK, China, Japan and Korea IP filings surge past the West
By Pamela Hamer-Koh
Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Increased investment in R&D across Asia has seen the number of patents and filings increase to pre-GFC levels; with filings from Hong Kong, China, Japan and Korea coming up tops – and trumping traditional heavyweight filer nations such as the US and Europe.
Chinese filings for trademark protection jumped 20.8% last year, when such applications fell 11.7% in the United States and 7.7% in Germany, according to statistics released by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
The WIPO also states that US applications for patents protecting new inventions were flat in 2008 and 2009, when recession made capital harder to access and customers harder to find.
Sheena Jacobs, a partner with Singapore’s ATMD Bird & Bird, said her firm has witnessed strong growth not just patent filings but also in IP litigation and patent trading work.
'The increase is due to last year's economic situation. Worldwide there was a drop in patent filings so countries that were less affected were able to pick up their filings. We have seen an increase in the protection of IP – both on patents and trading as well as general IP cases, and in patent litigation," Jacobs said.
Hong Kong, China, Japan and Korea are fast becoming the top filers globally, with China having already surpassed the UK. "There is a much stronger R&D drive in Asia and that's certainly a trend reflected in the numbers we are seeing," Jacobs said.
Baker & McKenzie.Wong&Leow IP partner Lorraine Tay has witnessed a similar trend in her practice.
"Jurisdictions that we are seeing instructions coming from are Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, India and Thailand. Some countries are not as popular, obviously, but China is high on everybody's list, that much is clear," Tay said.
According to Tay, the bulk of work is coming from domestic Asian companies and the sectors they are come from are increasingly diverse. "We are seeing a lot of our clients going outbound from Singapore. We are seeing a growing footprint going out of Singapore and even Asia. This ranges from hospitality and lifestyle products to electronics. There is still activity inbound but the growth is in outbound work from Asia," Tay said.ALB
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