A survey by inovia on “US IP Trends: Global Patent Protection in 2010” show that IP budgets may now be stabilizing for 2010.  In a recent study of 150+ small to medium-sized US businesses, 72% of corporate patent professionals surveyed expect to maintain or increase their foreign patent filings in 2010, as compared to 2009.

According to the survey, the majority of companies surveyed had their IP budgets cut in the last 12-18 months. In fact, almost 40% experienced a cut of over 30% of their budget.

Key findings include:

The majority of companies surveyed had their IP budgets cut in the last 12-18 months. In fact, almost 40% experienced a cut of over 30% of their budget.

72% of respondents brought some patenting procedures in-house in the last 12-18 months. Approximately half of the companies surveyed have no further plans to bring any steps in-house in 2010.

The cost-saving measure most cited for 2009 was to reduce the number of foreign countries entered. Specifically, between 2008 and 2010 there was an overall decrease in the average number of countries entered – from 6.6 countries in 2008 to 6.3 countries planned for 2010.

Download the 6-page report here.

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    While it’s good news that the number of IP filings is up, let’s hope that the recent economic upswing doesn’t also mean a return to the practice of overpatenting, which previously resulted in a glut of junk patents and subsequent inefficiency in the USPTO, among other undesirable consequences. But perhaps, as long as the practice of patent law remains profitable, there is no way to avoid such things.