WIPO 2014 report on world intellectual property indicators
Global patent filings extended a run of strong annual increases in 2013, underpinned by double-digit growth in China where about a third of the world’s 2.6 million patent applications were filed, followed by the United States of America (US) and Japan as the next-largest recipients.
Amid an uneven pace of global economic recovery, filings also increased for industrial designs and utility models in 2013 for the fourth consecutive year, according to the 2014 edition of the World Intellectual Property Indicators, a benchmark report that gathers data on intellectual property rights from more than 100 countries.
Reflecting growth rates of gross domestic product in many regions, IP filing increases are robust in China and the US, while declining in Europe and Japan.
“Global intellectual property filing trends mirror the broader economic picture,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “The diverging performance of the world economy appears to be leaving its mark on the global innovation landscape.”
In total, innovators filed some 2.57 million patent applications worldwide in 2013, a 9% increase on 2012. The global total consists of 1.71 million resident filings and 0.86 million non-resident filings.
China (32.1% of world total) and the US (22.3%) received more than half of global filings, while the European Patent Office (EPO) saw its share of the world total fall to 5.8%.
The top three patent offices in 2013 were China, with 825,136 filings, followed by the US (571,612) and Japan (328,436). The gap between China and the other offices has widened considerably since 2011, when China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) became the world’s top office in terms of patent filings received.
Among the top 20 offices, China (+26.4%) and Australia (+12.7%) saw the fastest growth in filings, followed by the Republic of Korea (+8.3%). Japan saw a 4.2% decline, while offices in Europe such as Italy (-1.1%), Spain (-6.6%), the UK (-1.3%) and the EPO (-0.4%) received fewer applications in 2013 than in 2012.
Among the large middle-income countries, India (-2.1%) and South Africa (-2%) saw declines in filings while Brazil (+1.5%) and Malaysia (+3.8) recorded growth in filings.
First in resident applications, Chinese applicants filed comparatively few applications abroad – only around 30,000. US and Japanese applicants each filed more than 200,000 filings abroad.
Computer technology (7.6% of total) saw the most published applications worldwide, followed by electrical machinery (7.2%), measurement (4.7%), digital communication (4.5%) and medical technology (4.3%).
An estimated 1.17 million patents were issued in 2013. After strong growth in patent grants worldwide for the previous three years, 2013 saw relatively modest growth of 3.1%. This is mainly due to fewer grants issued by SIPO and a slowdown in the number of grants issued by the Japan Patent Office (JPO).
An estimated 9.45 million patents were in force worldwide in 2013, with the US accounting for the most with 2.39 million (26% of world total), followed by Japan (19%).