5.3. Innovative outputs

Competing in information and communication technology (ICT) markets worldwide requires innovations and technological developments to be bundled with appealing designs, while ensuring that consumers are able to recognise the new and often complex products on offer.

Over 2013-16, digital-related technologies, as proxied by patents, accounted for about 33% of all IP5 patent families filed by OECD countries, representing a slight decrease on the share observed a decade earlier (36%). In contrast, China increased its share of ICT patent families by one-quarter and its IP5 patent portfolio became the most specialised in ICT. In the Russian Federation, India and Portugal, the share of patents related to ICT more than doubled, and it increased by almost two-thirds in Ireland, also due to the several technology companies establishing operations there.

A comparison of design patents that protect the “look and feel of products” filed between 2004-07 and 2014-17 in the United States, shows the importance of ICT product design. ICT designs grew slightly in the US market, relative to designs in general (+0.1 percentage point). In contrast, they declined as a share of all design filings in Europe (-0.8 percentage points) and in Japan (-2.5 percentage points).

Meanwhile, China doubled its share of ICT design patents filed in the United States (from 13% to 26%), increased its share of ICT designs registered in Japan by almost a third (to 21%) and maintained its registered design share in European markets (16%). This illustrates how China has moved beyond ICT manufacture to include design.

The share of trademarks that are ICT-related and registered by organisations in OECD countries grew in all markets considered. The highest increase was observed in 2014-17 in the European market (up 6 percentage points to 37% from 2004-07), with similar growth in the US market (up 5 percentage points to 24%), and a very strong increase in trademarks filed in the Japanese market (up 23 percentage points to 36%).

Overall, OECD countries seem to move progressively towards ICT IP bundling strategies, which place relatively more emphasis on the look and feel of products and on extracting value from branding. Conversely, BRIICS countries, in particular China, India and the Russian Federation, appear to be pursuing technological catch-up strategies, and to protect their products through designs and brands (OECD, 2017a).

Did You Know?

Digital assets represent 55% to 65% of the portfolio of protected intellectual property owned in Korea, comprising patents, trademarks and design rights.

Definitions

Patents protect technological inventions (i.e. products or processes providing new ways of doing something or new technological solutions to problems). IP5 patent families are patents filed in at least two offices worldwide, including one of the five largest IP offices: the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the National Intellectual Property Administration of People’s Republic of China (NIPA).

Patents in digital-related technologies are identified using International Patent Classification (IPC) codes (see Inaba and Squicciarini, 2017).

Designs protect new and/or original shapes, configurations or ornamental aspects of products.

Trademarks are distinctive signs, (e.g. words and symbols), used to identify the goods or services of a firm from those of its competitors.

ICT-related designs and trademarks are identified following an experimental OECD approach based on the WIPO Locarno and Nice Classifications, respectively, and combine a normative approach with the use of ICT-related keywords.

Measurability

Intellectual property (IP) rights follow a territoriality principle. Patents, designs and trademarks are protected only in the countries where they are registered. Using information on the priority date of patents (i.e. the date of the first filing of a patent, which has subsequently been filed in other IP jurisdictions, thus extending the geographical scope of protection), allows for the reconstruction of patent families and avoids duplications when counting IP assets. The same cannot be done for trademarks and designs, as information about identical registrations is seldom available. In the United States, designs are protected through design patents (at the USPTO), whereas in Europe (e.g. at the European Union Intellectual Property Office, EUIPO) and in Japan (at the JPO), designs are protected through the registration of industrial designs. As opposed to the case of patents, data availability constraints do not allow for the reconstruction of design and trademark portfolios protected at the IP5 offices.

Patents in ICT-related technologies, 2003-06 and 2013-16
As a percentage of total IP5 patent families, by country of ownership
picture

Source: OECD, STI Micro-data Lab: Intellectual Property Database, http://oe.cd/ipstats, November 2018. See 1. StatLink contains more data.

1. Data refer to IP5 families, by filing date, according to the applicants’ residence using fractional counts. Patents in ICT are identified using the list of IPC codes in Inaba and Squicciarini (2017). Only economies with more than 250 patents families in the periods considered are included. Data for 2015 and 2016 are incomplete.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888933930288

ICT-related designs, 2014-17
As a percentage of total designs, EUIPO, JPO and USPTO
picture

Source: OECD, STI Micro-data Lab: Intellectual Property Database, http://oe.cd/ipstats, September 2018. See 1. StatLink contains more data.

1. Data refer to design applications filed at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO), and design patents filed at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), by filing date, according to the applicants’ residence using fractional counts. ICT-related designs refer to subclasses 14-01 to 14-04, 14-99, 16-01 to 16-06, 16-99, 18-01 to 18-04 and 18-99 of the Locarno Classification. Shares are calculated for countries with more than 100 designs filed at the EUIPO, 100 design patents at the USPTO, and more than 25 designs filed at the JPO during the period considered. Figures for 2014-17 are partial.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888933930307

ICT-related trademarks, 2014-17
As a percentage of total trademarks, EUIPO, JPO and USPTO
picture

Source: OECD, STI Micro-data Lab: Intellectual Property Database, http://oe.cd/ipstats, September 2018. See 1. StatLink contains more data.

1. Data refer to trademarks filed at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), by filing date, according to the applicants’ residence using fractional counts. ICT-related trademarks refer to trademark application designating classes 9, 28, 35, 38, 41 and/or 42 of the Nice Classification, and containing ICT-related keywords in the goods and services description. Shares are calculated for countries with more than 250 trademarks filed at the EUIPO and the USPTO, and more than 25 trademarks filed at the JPO during the period considered. Figures for 2017 are partial.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888933930326

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