Recent Trends in the Number of Business-related Invention Applications
The Japan Patent Office (“JPO”) has published the results of a survey concerning the recent trends in business-related inventions*1. The survey includes the trends on the number of applications among countries or regions. According to the results of the survey, the number of applications for business-related inventions is increasing overall (Please refer to the Graph 5 shown in the following site: https://www.jpo.go.jp/e/system/patent/gaiyo/recent_trends_biz_inv.html.). In particular, the number of applications in China has increased rapidly since 2014, with the number of applications exceeding 50,000 in 2018.
The number of applications in the U.S had declined since 2014, due to Alice decision*2 by the Supreme Court in 2014, which made it difficult to obtain business-related patents in the U.S. However, the number turned to an increase in 2019. The JPO assumes that the increase was caused by the revision of the examination guidance in the U.S in January 2019, which improves predictability of examination of business-related inventions.
The number of applications in the European Patent Office (“EPO”) is the lowest among the five major patent offices. It is reported that the reason is probably due to its strict judgments on inventive step for business-related inventions.
*1 A business-related invention is an invention in which a business method is realized using Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
*2 Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 134 S. Ct.2347 (2014).