"Abandoned" patents jump as businesses slash intellectual property costs

 
Clara Guibourg
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Nearly 124,000 patents were allowed to expire last year (Source: Getty)

“Abandoned” patents have jumped, as businesses are cutting costs on intellectual property.

Nearly 124,000 patents in the US and Europe were allowed to expire last year, up nearly a third compared to the same figure in 2004, according to research from IAM and Ocean Tomo.

As abandoned patents rise, the number of new patent applications filed is also soaring, by 47 per cent in the US and 39 per cent in Europe over the past decade.

Joff Wild, editor of IAM, said that “patent hoarding” was no longer a viable option for businesses as cost pressures rise:

These figures suggest that calculating which patents to ditch is becoming almost as much a business-critical issue as protecting them.

While some major corporates – notably the tech giants – may still have the power to stockpile huge numbers of patents, this research suggests that many intellectual property owners are having to be much more strategic in prioritising which assets to keep.

The study found that cost-cutting and legislative developments were the main factors driving this change.

This news follows on a recent study which found that one in three intellectual property experts worry about the low quality of us patents.

The UK, generally lambasted for its dismissive attitude to intellectual property, files far fewer patents than the EU average, with countries like Sweden and Germany filing 3.5 times more patents.

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