11 February 2022

Mea Culpa! Corrections to 2021 Australian Patent Filing Statistics Show a Bigger Bumper Year than Originally Reported

BugfixThis week I discovered an obscure and insidious bug in the code that maintains my Australian patent database.  It has existed for months, but did not manifest itself until January, when I prepared the data for my reports on 2021 patent filings.  The impact was that around 2,000 standard patent applications, or just over 6% of the total, went missing.  These were almost exclusively PCT national phase entry applications, mostly filed by foreign applicants.  I have now fixed the bug, and updated my data.  The two affected articles, Australian Patent Filings Up in 2021, Aided by Innovation Patent’s Demise and Huawei Takes Top Spot in Australian Patent Filings, While Aristocrat Slides Down Rankings (which was originally titled ‘LG Takes Top Spot…’), have been corrected.  The general analysis and observations are substantially unaffected by the corrections, although obviously some of the specific numerical results were wrong.  For those who have already read the original articles, here is an overview of the more significant corrections.

Most notably, the total number of standard patent applications filed in 2021 is higher than I originally reported, at 32,393 rather than 30,343.  This makes last year a new record for Australian filings by an even larger margin than reported!

The ‘missing’ applications were essentially a random sample of the overall PCT national filings, so the corrections do not change the ranking of countries of origin – the top five are still the US, Australia, China, Japan and Germany.  The numbers of filings from the US and Australia grew by more than originally reported, while Chinese originating filings remained steady compared to 2020 (not declining, as reported), Japanese filings fell by less than reported, and German filings grew slightly, rather than declining slightly as reported.

The leading applicants remain largely unchanged, although there have been some changes in ranking due to small corrections in total filing numbers.  LG and Huawei are almost neck-and-neck at the top of the filing table, so it is not hugely surprising that they have swapped places, with Huawei (255 applications) just ahead of LG (251 applications).  My apologies to any LG fans who may have been celebrating the win!

Aristocrat picked up no additional applications in the correction (none of its 2021 filings were based on PCT applications), and its slide down the rankings was therefore slightly greater than originally reported, down to 25th rather than equal 21st place.  It is still the leading Australian resident applicant, by a comfortable margin.

Provisional filing numbers were unaffected by the software bug, while innovation patent filings were negligibly impacted – just 10 applications went missing from a total of 7,653 filed in 2021.

My apologies to anyone who may have relied upon the original data for any reason.


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