29 January 2023

Korea’s LG Tops Australian Patent Filing Table, While IBM Surprises in Second Place

2022 Race In recent years, the title of leading filer of Australian patent applications has been hotly (though probably inadvertently) contested between Huawei Technologies Ltd (China), Guangdong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications Ltd (China), and LG Electronics (South Korea).  In 2022, LG was a clear winner, with 283 new standard patent applications.  Huawei filed 181 applications, while OPPO disappeared entirely from the leader board, with just 16 applications filed in 2022 – a long way short of the 435 applications it filed at its peak in 2020

The big surprise of the past year, however, is the appearance of IBM in second place, with 189 applications.  The company affectionately known as ‘Big Blue’ was the leading US patent recipient for a remarkable 29 consecutive years.  At its peak, it filed more than 10,000 applications in a single year, and received 8,682 US patents in 2021.  However, throughout all of this time IBM has not been a major patent applicant in Australia, filing no more than 35 applications (in 1995) during any year between 1991 and 2020.

Other major filers of recent years to have dropped out of the top 30 include cloud computing and virtualization technology provider Citrix Systems, Inc (sixth placed in 2021 with 147 applications, down to just 19 filings in 2022) and semiconductor and wireless technology company Qualcomm Inc (which peaked at 326 applications in 2018, but filed just 28 times in 2022).

Once again, the leading Australian-based applicant was Aristocrat Technologies Australia Pty Ltd with 69 applications, followed by the Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) with 51 applications.  As in 2021, the top New Zealand applicant was Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Ltd which, with 111 applications, easily out-filed the leading Australians.

27 January 2023

Australian Patent Filings Declined Slightly in 2022, but Held at Historic Highs by Strong International Interest

Goodbye 2022In 2022, for the second year running, the number of standard patent applications filed in Australia exceeded 30,000.  While there was a slight decline of 0.5% compared with 2021, filings remained at a historic high.  This was, however, primarily due to continuing growth of nearly 1% in applications originating overseas.  Applications from Australian residents fell by 16.6%, returning to around the same level as between 2016 and 2020 following a bumper year in 2021 that was driven substantially by applicants wishing to secure a filing date prior to the phase-out of the innovation patent system.  Also disappointing was a continuing decline in the number of provisional applications filed.  Provisional filings have not been as low as they are now since the mid-1980s.

The United States remained the largest source of new Australian patent applications, by a large margin, accounting for 46% of all filings.  Australian residents held on to second position, despite the significant drop in filings, as the number of applications from China fell for the first time in more than two decades.  The top 10 remained the same overall, with the UK and South Korea each gaining a position, at the expense of Germany and France.  The UK is now in fifth place, and only marginally behind fourth-placed Japan, following two consecutive years of strong growth in filings.

Australia’s poor patenting performance continues to be a concern.  It is not just about resident applications, and there are a number of other metrics – including filings in other jurisdictions and various other innovation indicators – that consistently point to Australian underperformance in the identification, protection, management and commercialisation of technological innovations.  This is an area in which Australia needs to do better.

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The Patentology Blog by Dr Mark A Summerfield is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License.