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Patent Application Filings Decline, but Why?

Isn't innovation supposed to be recession-proof? Apparently not, at least if the number of patent filings for fiscal year 2009 is any indication. According to Dennis Crouch at Patently-O, original utility application patent filings have slowed in 2009. Extrapolating partial 2009 data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Crouch predicts that original filings for 2009 will decline by 10 percent over 2008 while continuation filings will be down by over 20 percent.

Crouch suggested that the economic downturn may account for the downturn in patent filings. But he also notes that the drop may relate to recent decisions in cases like Bilski (which held that pure business methods can't be patented), the prospect of patent reform and the backlog of 750,000 unexamined patent applications. The many comments on the post discuss different reasons for the decline as well as whether it warrants concern. Some commenters argue that the length of the patent vetting process has created so much frustration that some inventors aren't even bothering to file while others opine that companies are cutting IP budgets due to the economy, so they aren't filing as much. Still others contend that the number of filings hasn't declined enough and that the patent system would work better and be more meaningful if far fewer applications were filed and granted.

So, patent gurus, what do you think? You can file your comments below.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on April 13, 2009 at 03:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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