China Named Top Filer of International Patents
China surpassed the United States in 2019 as the top source of international patent applications filed via the Patent Cooperation Treaty, the World Intellectual Property Organization said on Tuesday.
With 58,990 PCT applications filed last year, China overtook the US, which filed 57,840 applications that year, as the biggest user of the PCT system. The top position has been held by the US since the PCT system began in 1978, according to WIPO.
"China's rapid growth to become the top filer of international patent applications via WIPO underlines a long-term shift in the locus of innovation toward the East, with Asia-based applicants now accounting for more than half of all PCT applications," said WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry.
In 1999, WIPO received 276 applications from China. In 2019, the number rose to 58,990, which was a 200-fold increase in just 20 years, Gurry said.
In 2019, the top five users of the PCT system were China, the US, Japan, Germany and South Korea. For the third consecutive year, China-based telecoms giant Huawei, with 4,411 published PCT applications, was the top corporate filer in 2019.
It was followed by Mitsubishi Electric of Japan, Samsung Electronics of South Korea, Qualcomm of the US and Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications of China.
The top 10 applicant list comprises four companies from China, two from South Korea, and one each from Germany, Japan, Sweden and the US.
Among educational institutions, the University of California maintained its top ranking with 470 published applications in 2019. China's Tsinghua University ranked second with 265 applications, followed by Shenzhen University from China, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and South China University of Technology.
While "IP is increasingly at the heart of global competition", it is important to remember that "innovation is not a zero-sum game", Gurry added.
"A net increase in global innovation means new drugs, communication technologies, solutions for global challenges that benefit everyone, wherever they live."