GENEVA, November 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Innovators in China powered global patent applications to a new record in 2015, filing more than a million applications for the first time ever within a single year amid rising worldwide demand for intellectual property rights that undergird economic activity.
In total, innovators around the world lodged some 2.9 million patent applications in 2015, representing a 7.8% increase over 2014 and the sixth straight year of rising demand for patent protection, according to WIPO's annual World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report.
While Chinese innovators filed the most patent applications (1,010,406) in 2015, followed by those from the United States of America (526,296) and Japan (454,285), they are comparatively home-focused: Innovators based in China filed 42,154 applications for patents abroad, while U.S.-based innovators were the most outward-looking, with 237,961 patent applications filed abroad.
"As policy-makers seek to invigorate growth around the world, it is encouraging to report that intellectual property filing activity saw healthy progression in 2015," said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. "While China continues to drive global increases, IP use grew in most countries in 2015, reflecting its increasing importance in a globalized knowledge economy."
China's patent office received 1,101,864 filings in 2015, making it the first office to receive more than a million applications in a single year. This totaled almost as many applications as the next three offices combined: the U.S. (589,410), Japan (318,721) and the Republic of Korea (213,694).
U.S. applicants filed the most applications abroad (237,961), marking a 6% increase, followed by those from Japan, which decreased 2.3 % to 195,446, and Germany, which saw a 3.6% drop to 101,892.
Computer technology (7.9% of the total) saw the highest percentage of published patent applications worldwide, followed by electrical machinery (7.3%) and digital communication (4.9%).
Around 1.24 million patents were granted worldwide in 2015, up 5.2% on 2014.
An estimated 6 million trademark applications covering 8.4 million classes were filed globally in 2015. Largely driven by China, applications increased by 15.3%, which represents the highest growth since 2000.
Global industrial design applications filed in 2015 grew by 2.3%, rebounding from a sharp decrease in 2014. Designers across the world filed 872,800 applications containing 1.1 million designs. Growth was mainly due to increases in applications filed in China, the Republic of Korea and the U.S.
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SOURCE World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)