Majority of Inventive Ideas Now Filed in Asian Countries
Milestone after international patent filings increased almost 4 percent since 2017.
Asian innovators filed more than half of international patent applications, driven by growth in China, India and South Korea, according to the latest data from the World Intellectual Property Organization.
"Asia is now the majority filer of international patent applications via WIPO, which is an important milestone for that economically dynamic region and underscores the historical geographical shift of innovative activity from West to East," WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry said at a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday.
"Intellectual property is a critical competitive element in the modern global economy, with everyone benefiting from this race to create and innovate that results in new products that transform our world and the way people live everywhere," he added.
International applications filed via the Patent Cooperation Treaty, governed by WIPO, surpassed the quarter-million benchmark last year. It increased 3.9 percent from 2017 to 253,000.
Inventors from China filed the second-largest number of PCT filings in 2018, contributing more than 53,340 applications. The United States was the largest filer with some 56,140 applications.
China is expected to outstrip the US within the next two years on current trends, according to WIPO.
On the PCT chart, Japan ranked third with more than 49,700 filings, followed by Germany and South Korea.
China and India were the only two middle-income countries among the top 15 filers of PCT applications.
India and Finland were the only countries to record double-digit annual growth among the top 15.
China and South Korea both saw strong growth, although China's rate was its lowest since 2002, at 9.1 percent.
In contrast, the Netherlands, France and the US each saw a decrease in filings.
Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies was the top corporate filer in 2018, with a record number of 5,405 published PCT applications.
It was tailed by Mitsubishi Electric in Japan (2,812); Intel in the US (2,499); Qualcomm in the US (2,404); and ZTE in China (2,080).
ZTE, which was the top applicant in 2016, witnessed a 29.8 percent drop in the number of published PCT filings in 2018, its second straight year of declines.
On the top 10 corporate applicant list, six companies were from Asia, two from Europe and two from the US.
For the first time, Chinese universities joined the top 10 educational institutes' list in terms of PCT filings in 2018.
The list has five universities from the US, four from China and one from South Korea.
The University of California ranked highest with 501 published applications, extending a leading position it has held since 1993.
Chinese institutions - Shenzhen University and South China University of Technology - took third and fourth position respectively.
Among technology fields, digital communication overtook computer technology to take the largest share of published PCT applications. The two sectors were followed by electrical machinery, medical technology and transport.
Transport, digital communication and semiconductors were the fields of technology with the highest rates of growth in 2018.
Another two WIPO-governed international intellectual property filing tools also saw growth in 2018.
The Madrid system, designed for international trademark applications, registered 61,200 filings - a 6.4 percent rise from 2017. The Hague system for industrial designs posted a 3.7 percent year-on-year increase, surpassing 5,400 applications.
Source: China Daily