Patent quality 'worst in technology industry'

Survey: Some of the world's largest companies think the quality of patents granted in the technology industry is worse than in many other industries

The quality of patents granted in the technology industry is worse than in any other major sector, according to a survey of US patent holders.

The survey, which was published by the Intellectual Property Owners Association last week, found that 10 percent of companies who hold patents in the computer, electronics or software industry thought the quality of patents being issued is poor, while 40 percent thought it was less than satisfactory.

The overall perception of patent quality is lower than in the chemicals, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology industry, and the consumer products, machinery and general manufacturing industry. In these industries, none of the respondents thought the quality of patents being issued was poor, although around half thought the quality of patents was less than satisfactory.

Respondents from the technology industry also had a more negative view on the change in patent quality over time.

Across all industries, 24 percent of respondents thought the quality of patents was "somewhat worse" than three years ago and 29 percent thought it would decline over the next three years. In the technology industry, 27 percent of respondents thought patent quality had decreased over this period and 40 percent thought it would fall over the next three years.

Eighty companies were interviewed for the survey, the majority of which had annual revenues of over $1bn (£600m).

The full survey can be viewed on the IPO Web site.

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