2007 was another record-breaking year for international patent application filings, according to a recent press release by the World Intellectual Propety Organization. A total of 156,100 applications were filed last year, a 4.7 percent increase from the year before. The country with the most filings was the U.S., which accounted for 33.5 percent of new filings, followed by Japan with 17.8 percent and Germany with 11.6 percent. The Republic of Korea (#4) and China (#7) had the largest increases among the top ten countries. Canada (#12) accounted for 1.9 percent.
I'm the librarian for research services in the Engineering and Science Library at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. I've been working with patent information since 1991, including seven years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I believe that the dissemination of patent information is a public good and should be promoted, especially in the education of science and engineering students.