Limited effect on international patent application filings due to COVID-19

August 10, 2022

The PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) yearly review has been released with a special theme of “How the COVID-19 crisis affected PCT application filings”. The review concludes that the COVID-19 pandemic mirrors previous economic crises in prompting a temporary downturn in IP activity. However, this downturn appears to have been shallower compared to previous crises.

In 2021, the IB published 263,280 PCT patent applications, representing a slight drop of 0.5% in published applications compared to 2020. China remains the biggest filer of PCT applications. The UK is one of the top 10 PCT filing countries and holds on to its 7th place.

Despite the downturn, the three health-related technology fields – biotechnology, medical technology and pharmaceuticals – saw their respective shares of PCT applications increase. To some extent, this increase came at the expense of information and communication technologies which had been among the fastest growing fields before the pandemic, only to then see a decline in filing activity in the months following the pandemic’s onset.

WIPO’s latest PCT yearly review – 2022 edition - can be found here.

Swindell & Pearson has extensive experience of the PCT system and of helping clients obtain patent protection around the world. Please contact us should you be interested in finding out more about seeking patent protection abroad.