World IP indicators – patent activity

patent activityDemand for intellectual property (IP) tools throughout the world is constantly growing. It reached record heights in 2017. It is not surprising that China leads the growth in filings for patents, trademarks, industrial designs and other IP rights that are at the heart of the global economy.

In a series of publications, we will present to you statistical data gathered by the World intellectual property organization about the different IP objects.

We are starting with patents.

China’s IP office received the highest number of patent applications in 2017, a record total of 1.38 million. China in 2017 refined its method for compiling statistics for patents and industrial designs applications, counting only those for which application fees have been paid. The offices of the United States of America (U.S.; 606,956), Japan (318,479), the Republic of Korea (204,775) and the European Patent Office (EPO; 166,585) followed China’s IP office.

The top five offices accounted for 84.5% of the world total. Among these offices, China (+14.2%) and the EPO (+4.5%) saw strong growth in filings, while Japan (+0.03%) and the U.S. (+0.2%) saw negligible growth. On the contrary, the Republic of Korea (-1.9%) received fewer applications in 2017 than in 2016.

Germany (67,712), India (46,582), the Russian Federation (36,883), Canada (35,022) and Australia (28,906) also featured among the top 10 offices. Australia (+1.8%), Canada (+0.8%) and India (+3.4%) saw growth in filings, while Germany (-0.3%) and the Russian Federation (-11.3%) experienced a decline in filings.

Patent activity beyond borders

In filing abroad, which is an indication of a desire to expand in new markets, U.S. residents continue to lead with 230,931 equivalent patent applications filed abroad in 2017. The U.S. was followed by Japan (200,370), Germany (102,890), the Republic of Korea (67,484) and China (60,310).

Among these five origins, China reported a 15% growth in filings abroad. This is far above that of Japan (+2.1%) and the U.S. (+2%). Both Germany (-0.6%) and the Republic of Korea (-4.1%) had fewer filings abroad in 2017 than in 2016.

Patents in force worldwide grew by 5.7% to reach 13.7 million in 2017. Around 2.98 million patents were in force in the U.S., while China (2.09 million) and Japan (2.01 million) each had around 2 million.

Source: WIPO