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Business

Germany Falls to Number Three in Patent Applications

Germany, formerly in second place globally in the number of international patent applications filed, was pushed out by Japan in 2003. The United States still leads the world in patent filings, accounting for 36 percent of the 110,114 registered last year with the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Japan came in second with 15 percent, followed by Germany at 13 percent. The U.K., France and Netherlands followed in the rankings. Among the companies filing the most applications were Philips, the Dutch electronics group, followed by Germany's Siemens and Matsushita of Japan. The U.S., Japan and members of the European patent convention--the "trilateral" nations--still account for 84 percent of all patent filings. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is working to improve research and education in the country to provide a boost to the economy, which has barely grown for three years.