China surpassed the United States as the top source of international patent applications filed with WIPO amid another year of robust growth in 2019.
China filed 58,990 applications in 2019 via WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) System, comparing with the U.S. 57,840 applications. The U.S. held the top position each year since the PCT began operations in 1978.
In 1999, WIPO received 276 applications from China. By 2019, that number rose to 58,990 – a 200-fold increase in only twenty years.
Asia-based applicants now account for more than half of all PCT applications (52.4%) while Europe (23.2%) and North America (22.8%) accounted for less than a quarter each.
In 2019, the top five users of the PCT were: China (58,990 PCT applications), the U.S (57,840), Japan (52,660), Germany (19,353) and the Republic of Korea (19,085).
Among the top 15 origins, Turkey (+46.7%), the Republic of Korea (+12.8%), Canada (+12.2%) and China (+10.6%) recorded double-digit annual growth in 2019. The strong growth for Turkey moved it up in the top 15 rank for the first time.
Among the top 15 origins, Germany (-2%) and the Netherlands (-3%) are the only two origins to report a decrease in filings.
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).
For the third consecutive year, China-based telecoms giant Huawei Technologies, with 4,411 published PCT applications, was the top corporate filer in 2019. It was followed by:
- Mitsubishi Electric Corp. of Japan (2,661);
- Samsung Electronics of the Republic of Korea (2,334;
- Qualcomm Inc. of the U.S. (2,127); and
- Guang Dong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications of China (1,927).
The top 10 applicant list comprises four companies from China, two from the Republic of Korea, and one each from Germany, Japan, Sweden and the U.S.. The top 10-university list comprises five universities from the U.S., four from China and one from the Republic of Korea.
International Patent Applications by Country
International trademark system (Madrid System)
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.
U.S.-based applicants (10,087) filed the largest number of international trademark applications using WIPO’s Madrid System in 2019, followed by those located in Germany (7,700), China (6,339), France (4,437) and Switzerland (3,729).
L’Oréal of France with 189 applications headed the list of top filers, followed by Novartis AG of Switzerland (135), Huawei Technologies of China (131), Nirsan Connect Private Limited of India (124) and Rigo Trading of Luxembourg (103).
For the first time, applicants from China and India are among the top five applicants.
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.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the global forum for intellectual property policy, services, information and cooperation. A specialized agency of the United Nations, WIPO assists its 193 member states in developing a balanced international IP legal framework to meet society’s evolving needs.