China drives record patent, trademark, design filings

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry (left) and Chief Economist Carsten Fink

Filings for patents, trademarks and industrial designs reached record highs around the world in 2016 amid soaring demand in China, the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization has reported.

Innovators around the world filed 3.1 million patent applications in 2016, up 8.3% in a seventh straight yearly increase, according to WIPO’s annual World Intellectual Property Indicators report.

Trademark applications rose 16.4% to about 7 million, and worldwide industrial design applications grew 10.4% to almost 1 million — both also driven by growth in China.

“The latest figures charting a rise in demand for intellectual property rights confirm a decade-long trend, where developments in China increasingly leave their mark on the worldwide totals,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.

China is increasingly amongst the leaders in global innovation and branding.”

China’s State Intellectual Property Office received the highest number of patent applications in 2016, a record total of 1.3 million.

It was followed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (605,571), the Japan Patent Office (318,381), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (208,830) and the European Patent Office (159,358).

On a per-capita basis, patent filings in China ranked behind those in GermanyJapan, the Republic of Korea and the US.

An estimated 7 million trademark applications were filed worldwide in 2016, 16.4% more than in 2015, marking the seventh consecutive year of growth.

China had the highest volume of trademark filing activity with around 3.7 million, followed by the US (545,587), Japan (451,320), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (369,970) and India (313,623).

Among the top five offices in trademark filing, China (+30.8%), Japan (+30.8%) and India (+8.3%) reported solid annual growth.

Other offices among the top 20 with strong growth were the Russian Federation (+14.8%), the UK (+19.1%) and Vienam (+21.1%).

Global industrial design filing activity in 2016 grew by 10.4% to an estimated 963,100 applications.