Canadians obtaining more patents
In 2010, Canadian companies were granted 5,223 U.S. patents - up 20% from 2009. The Globe and Mail reports HERE, but also notes:
All but one of the five countries that rank ahead of Canada in U.S. patents are churning them out at a more rapid clip, including No. 1, the United States (up 24 per cent); No. 2, Japan (up 26 per cent); No. 3, Germany (up 25 per cent); No. 4, South Korea (up 26 per cent); and No. 5, Taiwan (up 16 per cent), according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s 2010 annual report. The list of companies winning the most patents includes International Business Machines, Samsung, Microsoft and Canon.
More broadly, there is concern being voiced that the USPTO is just issuing more patents - 31% more in 2010 than in 2009 - in line with Director David Kappos' goal of reducing pendency (to be simplistic, the amount of time a patent application sits in the USPTO before being issued). But is this being accomplished at the cost of issuing lower quality patents? Dennis Crouch calls for a "quality study" HERE and has further comments HERE. Some commentators point to "a pick up in R&D after the recession" (but wouldn't that result in patents 2-3 years from now?) and "the increasing importance of patents as companies war with each other over intellectual property" (as a patent lawyer, one can only hope!).
The 2010 USPTO Performance and Accountability Report may be found HERE.
The Globe also has an article about an inventor obtaining CA and US patents for a hockey stick modified to train stick handling. Note his patent agent doing his job: "The agent also helped him to ensure the patent applied to other kinds of sticks – such as goalie sticks, lacrosse sticks or field hockey sticks."