FRANKFURT, March 13 (Reuters) - A regulatory push to lower carbon dioxide emissions has helped raise international patent filings in the automobile industry 18 percent in 2013, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) said on Thursday.
“In line with growing investments in research and development, the automobile industry has seen a sharp increase in international patent filings over the last three years,” WIPO said in a statement.
In 2013, 4,275 patents were filed by auto manufacturers, compared with 3,606 in 2012. Patent applications jumped 84 percent from 2010, when 2,322 were filed, WIPO said.
With 1,696 published patent applications, Toyota Motor Corp is ranked highest among the auto makers that make use of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), followed by Nissan Motor Co, Honda Motor Co, Daimler AG and Audi AG, WIPO said.
The ranking is not a definitive indication of which companies are most innovative, a WIPO spokesman said. It is merely an indication of which companies make most use of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which helps companies seeking patent protection in multiple jurisdictions by filing a single international patent application.
Some auto makers may prefer to file their patents directly in other countries without using the PCT, or only in their home countries. General Motors Co. for example, filed no patents via the PCT in 2013, according to WIPO.
However, General Motors points out that according to The Patent Board, a consultancy which pulls together patent grants and application data from the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO) and WIPO, General Motors received 1,672 U.S. patents in 2013.