Global patent filings hit fastest growth in 18 years, UN reports

9 December 2013

Intellectual property patent filings worldwide grew at their fastest pace in almost two decades in 2012, driven by China, according to the United Nations agency charged with protecting inventions, trademarks, industrial designs and copyright.

The UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) said in its annual report released today the patent filings grew by 9.2 per cent last year, the fastest growth recorded in the past 18 years, reaching an estimated 2.35 million applications filed.

Filings have “sharply rebounded” since a 2009 decline, at the height of the financial crisis, of 3.9 per cent, according to 2013 edition of the ‘World Intellectual Property Indicators.’

“Following the 2009 financial crisis, global intellectual property (IP) filings and global economic output have followed diverging paths,” WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said in a news release.

“While economic recovery since the 2009 crisis has been uneven and has failed to bring down unacceptably high levels of unemployment, IP filings have increased at a faster rate than before the crisis.”

The report also shows that for the first time, China tops the ranking for the largest number of patents filed at 560,681 – many of these in material metallurgy technologies.

In addition, China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) last year accounted for the largest number of applications received by any single office with 652,777 filings, a position it first assumed in 2011.

In trademarks, the total number of applications filed grew by 6 per cent to 6.58 million with the fastest growth reported in Turkey, at 24.1 per cent, and China, at 16.5 per cent.

The numbers of industrial designs contained in applications also strongly rebounded, according to the report, with the 17 per cent growth being the highest since records became available in 2004. Russia recorded its fastest growth in design counts for 2012, hitting 29.5 per cent.

The total number of plant variety applications reached a new record at 14,319, but the growth rate of 1.8 per cent in 2012 was modest compared to 7.5 per cent the previous year.

The European Union’s Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) received the highest number of applications (2,868), followed by offices in China (1,583) and Ukraine (1,281).

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