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Patents Reach Record Number, Asian Nations Fueling Growth

The United States was the top country of origin for patent filings in 2007, but Korea, Japan, and China combined to dominate the top 10. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reports that 156,100 patent applications were filed in 2007 under the auspices of its Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), representing a 4.7 percent growth over 2006. For the fourth consecutive year, more than 25 percent of those filings came from Japan, Korea, and China, which placed second, fourth, and seventh, respectively. Patent applications from China increased by more than 38 percent and those from Korea grew by more than 18 percent over the previous year. The majority of patents from all applicants came in the fields of telecommunications, information technology, and pharmaceuticals, but nuclear engineering was the fastest-growing field, with a 24.5 percent increase over 2006. Applications from developing countries, which make up more than three-quarters of the PCT membership, included more than 100 each from India, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, and Malaysia.

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