GENEVA－Global demand for various intellectual property tools hit a record high in 2017, with China driving the growth in major IP filings, the World Intellectual Property Organization announced on Dec 3.
The filings involved patents, trademarks, industrial designs and other forms of IP that are at the heart of the global economy, according to the United Nations agency.
Internationally, innovators filed 3.17 million patent applications in 2017, up 5.8 percent from a year earlier, representing the eighth straight yearly increase, according to WIPO’s World Intellectual Property Indicators 2018 report.
The number of trademark applications, a measure which WIPO officials said was used as an indicator of projected global economic activity, grew by a “stunning” 30 percent totaling 12.39 million last year, while the number of industrial design applications reached 1.24 million.
China recorded the highest application volume for each of these IP rights, as innovators and creators inside the country, as well as foreign entities, moved to protect and promote their work in one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies, the report said.
“Demand for IP protection is rising faster than the rate of global economic growth, illustrating that IP-backed innovation is an increasingly critical component of competition and commercial activity,” WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said at a news conference in Geneva.
“In just a few decades, China has constructed an IP system, encouraged homegrown innovation, joined the ranks of the world’s IP leaders－and is now driving worldwide growth in IP filings,” he added.
China’s IP administration received the highest number of patent applications in 2017, a record total of 1.38 million. It was followed by those in the United States at 606,956, Japan at 318,479 and South Korea at 204,775－as well as the European Patent Office which received 166,585 applications.
The top five patent offices accounted for 84.5 percent of the world total. Among them, the China Intellectual Property Administration and EPO saw strong growth in filings, reporting respective 14.2 percent and 4.5 percent rises.
Asia has strengthened its position as the region with the greatest activity in patent filings. Offices located in Asia received 65.1 percent of all applications filed worldwide in 2017－a considerable increase from 49.7 percent in 2007－primarily driven by growth in China.
In filings abroad, which WIPO officials said is an indication of the desire to expand into new markets, US residents continued to lead with 230,931 equivalent patent applications filed abroad last year.
Japan, Germany, South Korea and China took the next four positions in the chart of overseas patent filings.
Of the top five overseas patent filers, China reported the highest growth with 15 percent, far above that of Japan at 2.1 percent and the US at 2 percent. Germany and South Korea had fewer applications abroad in 2017 than in 2016.
When it came to trademark filings, China retained No 1 position in 2017, increasing filings by about 55 percent and representing 46 percent of all trademark applications worldwide.
An estimated 9.11 million trademark applications covering 12.39 million classes were filed worldwide in 2017, marking the eighth straight year of growth.
Trademarks associated with advertising and business management accounted for 11 percent of global trademark filing activity in 2017, followed by clothing (7 percent), computers, software and instruments (6.6 percent) and education and entertainment (5.5 percent).
There were an estimated 43.2 million active trademark registrations worldwide in 2017－up 9.7 percent from 2016－with 14.9 million in China alone, followed by 2.2 million in the US, 1.9 million in Japan and 1.6 million in India.