WIPO: China Becomes Top Filer of International Patents in 2019 Amid Robust Growth for WIPO’s IP Services, Treaties and Finances
China in 2019 surpassed the United States of America (U.S.) as the top source of international patent applications filed with WIPO amid another year of robust growth for the Organization’s international intellectual property (IP) services, treaty-adherence activity and revenue base.
With 58,990 applications filed in 2019 via WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) System, China ended the U.S. (57,840 applications in 2019) reign as the biggest user of the PCT System that helps incentivize and spread innovation – a position previously held by the U.S. each year since the PCT began operations in 1978.
International patent applications filed via the PCT grew by 5.2% (265,800 applications) in 2019, while international trademark applications via the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks increased by 5.7% (64,400 applications). Protection for industrial designs via the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs saw a 10.4% growth (21,807 designs), capping another record-setting year for WIPO’s global IP services.
Trademark owners filed a record 3,693 cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) with WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center, while WIPO’s two-dozen plus treaties gained 55 new accessions or ratifications in 2019 and preliminary financial results showed an approximate surplus of 97.5 million Swiss francs.
“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 towards 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. By 2019, that number rose to 58,990 – a 200-fold increase in only twenty years, Mr. Gurry noted.
“Meanwhile, IP is increasingly at the heart of global competition. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that innovation is not a zero-sum game – that a net increase in global innovation means new drugs, communications technologies, solutions for global challenges that benefit everyone, wherever they live. I am pleased that WIPO’s IP services are successfully helping foster innovation and spread it worldwide,” said Mr. Gurry.