The Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) received its two millionth international patent application in April, a landmark which WIPO hopes will encourage companies and inventors in multiple countries to seek patents.

 WIPOs Patent Corporation Treaty (PCT) launched in 1978 was designed to promote information sharing among patent offices and avoid duplication. Until a few years ago, the United States and Europe were the largest users.  East Asia is however, quickly catching up with a registered increase in applications last year from China, South Korea and Japan.

 The two millionth application was filed by the US-based mobile technology company Qualcomm.  A few days earlier, China’s Zoom Technologies announced in Beijing that it will develop mobile phones based on Qualcomm's third-generation," mobile technology.

 The US Ambassador to international organizations in Geneva, Betty King, said she was pleased that a US company is being honored for its filing and noted that “Qualcomm is now not just an American Company, but a company with global operations.”

 It took 26 years for WIPO to receive the first one million PCT applications, according to WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “Rapidly growing use of the PCT over the past six years – the time it took to go from one to two million international patent applications – reflects increasing investments in innovation and the growing importance of protecting innovation.”

 Under the PCT approximately 160,000 international patent applications are filed every year. The resulting database is an important collection of information about the ‘state of the art’ in all fields of technology and can be used by companies and individual inventors to understand what the competition is doing and inspire further innovation.