Nov 12, 2015 | By Tess

The World Intellectual Property organization (WIPO), a branch of the United Nations, released its bi-annual report, the World Intellectual Property Report 2015, which focuses on breakthrough innovations and economic growth across the globe.

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry (left) and Chief Economist Carsten Fink

The report, which looks at original mapping of patents in the fields of 3D printing, nanotechnology and robotics has shown that since 1995 more than 75 percent of the patent filings in these areas have been made by a small group of developed nations, including Japan, the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Korea.

In the field of robotics, Japanese companies, which include many of the big Japanese car and electronic companies, are leading in filing new innovative patents. In fact, eight of the top ten robotics patent applicants are Japan based. They are: Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Dense, Hitachi, Panasonic, Yaskawa, and Sony. The other two leading innovators in robotics are Germany’s Bosch, and Samsung, from the Republic of Korea.

The United States are leading in the number nanotechnology patents, though six of the top ten companies that file for nanotechnology patents are Japan based and include Nippon Steel, Toshiba, Canon, Hitachi, Panasonic and TDK. The top American innovators in nanotechnology are IBM, the University of California, and Hewlett Packard.

The 3D printing top ten list is more varied being made up of four American companies: 3D Systems, Stratasys, General Electric and United Technologies; three German companies: Siemens, MTU Aero Engines and EOS; and three Japanese companies: Mitsubishi, Hitachi, and Toshiba. Overall though, U.S. based companies and entities have filed for the most patents in the area of 3D printing.

Though not present in any of the top ten lists, the report also shows that China is the only middle-income country that is approaching the level of technological innovation of the leading countries. More specifically, the report has found that since 2005 Chinese patent applicants have made up approximately a quarter of worldwide patents in 3D printing and robotics. What the report also presents, and which is quite interesting, is that many of the Chinese patent applicants come from universities or public research organizations.

Not only restricted to China, however, compared to other historical technological innovations such as airplanes, antibiotics, and semiconductors, the areas of 3D printing, robotics, and nanotechnologies owe much of their innovation to entities such as universities and PROs.

Significantly, the report emphasizes the importance of technological innovation for economic growth. Especially now, in a period of relatively stagnant worldwide economic growth, the WIPO report has stressed the importance of innovation related investment, hoping to increase government and business involvement. The report looks back throughout history to identify other instances of renewed business activity and has found that moments such as the advent of airplanes, antibiotics, and semiconductors helped to spur economic activity.

Francis Gurry, WIPO Director General, says “Historical technological breakthroughs have been at the root of long-lasting expansions in economic output. Successful innovation, at the company level or across the wider economy, requires perseverance, particularly in periods of anemic growth when innovation budgets are under pressure. We need to reinforce the environments that give rise to the breakthrough technologies of tomorrow.”

WIPO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland

3D printing, robotics, and nanotechnology were selected as the focus for the WIPO report in 2015 because of their rapidly growing potential and their significance as “frontier technologies”. These three areas of technological innovation have been significant within many industries, and the United Nations believe they have the potential to advance and provoke growth within the slowly moving global economy.

The World Intellectual Property Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations which has as its mandate the development of a balanced international intellectual property (IP) legal framework. Along with publishing insightful reports on the state of patent applications, the WIPO provide business services for obtaining IP rights, help to resolve IP disputes between nations, and offer programs to help developing countries use and benefit from IP.

For the highlights of the World Intellectual Property Report 2015 see the video below:



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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Bill wrote at 11/12/2015 9:32:28 PM:

Patents automatically roll into the public domain for the good of mankind... after a predetermined amount of time to give the inventor the ability to capitalize on them. People tend to assume that it must be now to help mankind, but that is a fallacy... giving the inventor the time to recoup their investment encourages future inventiveness... doing otherwise will actually prevent it. If someone does not take advantage of that, they can simply abandon it after a few years (by not paying the fees required to keep it in place) and it will automatically go to into the public domain. Mankind is helped by all inventions moving forward... 20 years is not long to wait for the benefit of mankind... individuals, however, are sometimes impatient and want it now, which doesn't actually benefit anyone.

Bob a Job wrote at 11/12/2015 4:29:16 PM:

Maybe some patents should just be moved into the public domain for the good of mankind. Kick the trolls in the nuts.

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