Skip to Digest of Key Science and Engineering Indicators 2008 main content.
spacer graphic Home
General Science and Engineering Indicators
R&D Investment Patterns
S&E Workforce Development
Knowledge Output
S&E Articles Published by Selected Country
Number of Triadic Patent Families by Nationality of Inventor
Citations to U.S. Articles by USPTO Patents

Selected Education Indicators
High School Completion Patterns
High School Teachers
Higher Education Enrollments

Selected Global Marketplace Indicators


With nearly 20,000 filings in 2003, the United States continued to be the leading source of triadic patent families.

Mouseover legend to highlight data points.

Why is this indicator important?

  • The high cost of filing for patents from three separate patent offices representing the world's three largest markets makes triadic patent families a more valid measure than simple patent counts for identifying economically valuable inventions.

Key Observations

  • The United States, Japan, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom were the top five filers of triadic patents in 2003, together accounting for 84% of the world's triadic patent families in 2003.
  • The United States had the largest increase in world share between 1993 and 2003, increasing from 34 to 37% of the total.
  • While their share of the world total remained small (less than half a percent each), China and India increased their filings of triadic patents from 33 to 225 and from 8 to 99, respectively, between 1993 and 2003.

Related Discussion

  • Patent shares by technology provide a more nuanced comparison of inventive output between countries and over time. Chapter 6 of SEI 2008 discusses biotechnology and information and communications technology patenting trends.