Global Patent Filings Rising for 5th Straight Year!


The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has recently reported that innovators filed some 2.7 million patent applications to mark another worldwide annual rise in 2014, as application activity in China outstripped the combined total in its next-closest followers, the United States and Japan.

The totals on patent applications come from the recently published World Intellectual Property Indicators Report of The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). WIPO is the global forum for intellectual property policy, services, information and cooperation. A specialized agency of the United Nations, WIPO assists its 188 member states in developing a balanced international IP legal framework to meet society’s evolving needs. It provides business services for obtaining IP rights in multiple countries and resolving disputes. It delivers capacity-building programs to help developing countries benefit from using IP. And it provides free access to unique knowledge banks of IP information.

WIPO also reports that trademark and plant variety filings also showed strong growth last year, while industrial design applications declined for the first time in two decades, according to the 2015 edition of the World Intellectual Property Indicators – WIPO’s annual report on the latest trends in intellectual property (IP) activity worldwide.

“Demand for IP rights continued to grow around the globe in 2014,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “This underscores the central role that new technology and brand recognition play in determining success in today’s marketplace. It also highlights the important task that falls to IP offices in maintaining quality when examining IP applications.”

Patent offices receiving the highest number of applications in 2014 were China, with 928,177 filings, followed by the US (578,802), Japan (325,989), the Republic of Korea (210,292) and the European Patent Office (EPO, 152,662). If the current trend continues, China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) is set to become the first office to receive a million applications in a single year. China (+12.5%), the EPO (+3.2%), the Republic of Korea (+2.8%) and the US (+1.3%) saw growth in 2014. Japan recorded a 0.7% decline.

Along with China, Brazil and India – two large middle-income countries – rank among the top ten offices. Among the top 20 offices, the Islamic Republic of Iran (+18.5%) and China (+12.5%) saw the fastest growth in filings, followed by Indonesia (+7.7%), and Thailand (+7.1%). Among other the large middle-income countries Viet Nam (+11.3%), Turkey (+9.4%) and the Philippines (+9.3%) recorded strong growth in filings.

US applicants filed the most applications abroad (224,400), followed by those from Japan (200,000) and Germany (105,600). By contrast, Chinese applicants filed comparatively few applications abroad – only around 36,700.

Computer technology (7.8% of total) saw most applications worldwide, followed by electrical machinery (7.4%), measurement (4.8%) and digital communication (4.6%). Digital communication and computer technology have been the two fastest growing technological fields over the past 20 years.

An estimated 1.18 million patents were granted worldwide in 2014. After strong growth for the previous five years, 2014 saw relatively modest growth of 0.3%. This is mainly due to fewer grants issued by the Japan Patent Office (JPO), which granted 50,000 less patents in 2014 than in 2013.

An estimated 10.2 million patents were in force worldwide in 2014, with the bulk of them in the US (24.7% of world total), Japan (18.8%) and China (11.7%).

For more information on these statistics and their implications, watch the following YouTube video from the WIPO Director General Francis Gurry: