Explosive growth in medical technology patent filings – US leads
According to the WIPO Patent Report, 2007 Edition,
Worldwide filings of patent applications have grown at an average annual rate of 4.7% since 1995 to a total of more than 1.6 million in 2005. The growth rate is comparable to the overall increase in economic activity over the same period. Patents granted worldwide have increased at an average annual rate of 3.6% to about 600,000 in 2005. At the end of 2005, there were approximately 5.6 million patents in force worldwide.
The graph below will give you a clearer idea about how explosive the growth has been in recent years –
The report mentions that the fastest growing technical field from 2000 to 2004 was medical technology (+32.2%).
The worldwide picture reflected above has been felt even more keenly in the United States. The WIPO Patent Report states –
Patent offices of Japan and the United States of America receive the largest amount of patent applications followed by North East Asian emerging States, namely China and the Republic of Korea and large industrialized European States.