Rapid growth in patent filings in 3D printing and additive manufacturing over the last decade
What conclusions can we draw from the huge recent growth of patent filings in 3D printing?
The United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has published its Innovation and Growth Report for 2021/22, highlighting the investment in innovation and growth, and the role that intellectual property (IP) plays in such growth.
The report outlined the significant contribution that investment in IP has made to the productivity of the UK economy. Investment in intangible assets, of which IP is a part, grew by 3.6% to £168.7 billion between 2018 and 2019, exceeding the investment in tangible assets, which in 2019 increased by 3.8% to £160.2 billion.
The report shows that a record number of UK trade mark applications were filed in the period 2021/22, with the UKIPO examining 216,000 national and international trade mark applications (of which 152,000 were national UK applications). This saw a 59% increase in new filings as compared to the period 2020/21. The UKIPO has always been relatively quick in examining new applications; however, examination times increased somewhat following COVID and in view of the volume of new applications, with the time from filing to examination being in the region of 3 months at the beginning of 2022. The examination time has now returned to between 5 and 15 days, with the UKIPO having recruited a number of new examiners.
Similarly, there was also a record number of new design applications filed in 2021/22, with an increase of 78% as compared to the previous year. The examination of design applications increased to roughly 8 weeks from filing at the beginning of the year, but has now returned to between 5 and 15 days.
On the patent front, the UKIPO have granted 10,798 patents in 2021/22, being the highest number of patents granted in over 30 years. The UKIPO set a target of 90% for an accelerated two-month turnaround for search, publication and examination, but delivered on 96.9% of such requests. As a result, the UKIPO eliminated its backlog of examination requests.
The UKIPO has set out its ambition to be the best IP office in the world. The UKIPO’s One IPO Transformation Programme aims to deliver a single integrated system for all registered IP rights, allowing for the application, management and research of all registered IP rights in the same place. This investment is to ensure that IP continues to play its role in driving economic growth and innovation in the UK. The report states that the initial phase of the programme has now been completed, and that the UKIPO looks forward to launching its ‘One IPO’ patent service in 2023.
If you have any questions about intellectual property protection, please get in touch to speak to one of our attorneys.