China recorded the highest application volume for intellectual property (IP) rights, including patents, trademarks, and designs of industrial products, according to an annual report released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on Dec.3.

Last year, global demand for IP tools hit new record. Innovators filed 3.17 million patent applications, representing an eighth straight yearly increase, according to WIPO’s annual World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report.

The number of trademark applications hit 12.39 million, while the number of industrial design applications reached 1.24 million.

China’s IP office received the highest number of patent applications in 2017, a record total of 1.38 million, followed by the IP offices of the United States (about 610,000), Japan (about 320,000), South Korea (about 204,000), and the European Patent Office (about 170,000).

China is becoming an incontrovertible world leader in applications for IP rights, said Analysts. The country is vigorously promoting the growth of global application volume for IP rights.

China has given strong support to domestic high-tech industries and made active efforts to protect IP rights. Last year, the country’s patent applications were mainly from such areas as electronic equipment, computer technologies, and data transmission.

Asia was the most dynamic region for patent applications, said the WIPI report. It suggested that in 2017, the number of patent applications received in Asia accounted for 65.1 percent of the world’s total, while the figure was only 49.7 percent 10 years ago. Such dramatic increase can be attributed to China’s economic growth.

China’s patent application in overseas destinations grew by 15 percent from a year ago in 2017. The growth was significantly higher than those of Japan (2.1 percent) and the U.S. (2 percent). Some other countries even witnessed negative growth in this regard such as Germany and South Korea.

China’s IP office filed the most trademarks applications in the world last year which covered around 5.7 million categories, followed by the U.S. and Japan.

The volume of trademark applications concerning industrial product design received by the IP office of China represented 50.6 percent of the world’s total in 2017, which was much larger than the proportion achieved by the European Union (EU), South Korea, Turkey, and the U.S. did.

Eleven countries and regions had generated total publishing revenue of $248 billion in trade, education and science, as well as technology and medical service last year, while China reported the highest net income of $202.4 billion, according to statistics on creative economy which was for the first time included in the report.

“China remained the main driver of global growth in IP filings. From already high levels, patent filings in China grew by 14.2 percent and trademark filing activity in China by 55.2 percent. These high growth rates propelled China’s shares of global patent filings and trademarks filing activity,” WIPO Director General Francis Gurry wrote in the forward of the report.

“In just a few decades, China has constructed an IP system, encouraged homegrown innovation, joined the ranks of the world’s IP leaders — and is now driving worldwide growth in IP filings,” said Gurry at a press conference at the United Nations (UN) on Dec.3.


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