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Top 10 IP Management News Stories for 2023


In a transformative year for intellectual property, 2023 witnessed significant shifts and advancements across the global IP landscape. From changes at the USPTO with the retirement of legacy systems like EFS-Web and Private PAIR to the introduction of the Patent Center system, to Switzerland’s continued dominance in innovation according to WIPO’s Global Innovation Index, the year marked a series of pivotal moments. Notably,  last year saw amendments to the Madrid Protocol and the introduction of the Unitary Patent Court. Economic headwinds, the rise of generative AI in IP management, and IP issues related to works created by generative AI rounded out a year rich in developments. So with that, let’s delve into the year’s top 10 IP news stories.

10. USPTO Modernizes with Patent Center Upgrade

In November 2023, the USPTO officially retired their decades-old EFS-Web and Private Patent Application Information Retrieval (Private PAIR). The Patent Center system will fully replace these legacy tools, providing a one-stop shop for filing and managing applications, offering a next-generation user interface with better overall system performance and security. Read more.

9. Switzerland Tops WIPO’s Global Innovation Index (GII) for 13th Consecutive Year

In September 2023, WIPO published its Global Innovation Index (GII), which analyzes global innovation patterns, ranking 132 nations. Switzerland, Sweden, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Singapore led the innovation forefront, with Switzerland securing the top GII ranking for the 13th consecutive time. Read more.

8. Significant Changes to Madrid Protocol Announced

In September 2023, several significant changes to the Madrid Protocol were announced, The amendments include time limits for responding to refusals, response time minimums, notification obligations, and editorial clarifications. The changes will take effect from November 1, 2023, and November 1, 2024. Read more.

7. USPTO Issues Milestone 1 Millionth Design Patent

On September 26, 2023, the USPTO marked a significant achievement with the issuance of its one millionth design patent. According to the USPTO, they received over 50,000 applications for design patent protection last year, while experiencing a 20% increase in applications over the last five years. Read more.

6. Economic Headwinds Impact IP Operations

With ever-looming economic uncertainties in 2023, many companies tightened their IP budgets and pared back IP department headcount. Navigating through these economic challenges required IP departments to take more creative approaches to managing their IP portfolios. Read more 

5. Samsung Displaces IBM as the Leading Recipient of U.S. Patents

Last year, Samsung Electronics surpassed IBM in new patent awards for the first time in nearly 30 years. According to a study by IFI Claims Patent Services, overall patent grants decreased by just over 1% to 327,321, following a 7% decline the previous year. However, the drop doesn’t indicate reduced innovation, as IFI noted a 2% increase in patent applications to a record 417,922, marking the fifth consecutive year of growth. Read more.

4. Patent Grants Increased by 10% Across IP5 Offices

The IP5 Statistics Report is an annual compilation from the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). According to the report, patent grants increased by 10% at the world’s five largest IP offices (IP5), totaling 1.5 million patents, with 2.9 million patent applications received. Read more

3. IP Professionals Look to Leverage AI to Empower Effective IP Management

In the context of IP management, generative AI has presented a promising avenue for streamlining processes, increasing efficiency, and providing valuable insights. In 2023, IP professionals began looking for ways to best leverage this transformative technology. Read more.

2. Unitary Patent System Takes Effect in Europe

In July 2023, the Unitary Patent Court (UPC) came into effect. The supranational court allows the proprietors of Unitary Patents and European patents to enforce their rights in all EU Member States having ratified the UPC Agreement. It puts an end to the need for litigation before national courts in different countries and enhances legal certainty through harmonized case law in the area of patent infringement and validity. The new court is designed to provide litigants with simpler, quicker, and more efficient judicial procedures. Read more.

1. The Use of Generative AI Raises IP Questions and Concerns

Rapid advancements in generative AI have showcased its ability to create seemingly original and innovative content. However, this progress has sparked concerns among IP attorneys about copyright, trademarks, and patents as AI-generated works become more common. Read more

Undoubtedly, 2023 was a dynamic year for IP management – economic impacts, patent changes, and legal debates reshaped the landscape. Looking ahead to 2024, although there are many unknowns, we are expecting continued focus on AI’s IP implications, and are hopeful for further global harmonization efforts in patent systems amidst accelerating technological innovation.


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