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Record Highs Reflect Surging China Demand

Nation continues as dominant driver in patents, trademarks and designs

Driven by burgeoning demand for innovation in China, worldwide filings for patents, trademarks and industrial designs created record highs last year, according to a latest report.

The World Intellectual Property Indicators 2017, released by the World Intellectual Property Organization on Dec 6, found that last year China received more patent applications than the combined total from the United States, Japan, South Korea and the European Patent Office.

The top five IP offices - the State Intellectual Property Office of China, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Japan Patent Office, the Korean Intellectual Property Office and the European Patent Office - accounted for 84 percent of the world's total patent filings last year, 9 percentage points higher than their combined share 10 years earlier.

"The latest figures charting a rise in demand for intellectual property rights confirm a decade-long trend, where developments in China increasingly leave their mark on the worldwide totals," said WIPO Director-General Francis Gurry.

"China is increasingly among the leaders in global innovation and branding."

Innovators around the world filed 3.1 million patent applications in 2016, increasing 8.3 percent in a seventh straight yearly increase.

China remained the main driver of global growth in patent filings, as the application number in the country jumped by 21.5 percent to 1.3 million.

Asia's share of all patent applications worldwide increased from 49.7 percent in 2006 to 64.6 percent in 2016, primarily boosted by strong growth in filings in China, which accounted for around two-thirds of total applications filed in the region.

China has been the largest source of patent applications since it topped Japan in 2012.

Yet the report noted that around 96 percent of all applications from China were filed in the country and only 4 percent were filed abroad.

The world's total number of international applications via the Patent Cooperation Treaty grew by 7.2 percent to about 233,000 in 2016 - the fastest increase since 2011 and the seventh consecutive year of growth.

China ranked No 3 among PCT filers worldwide in 2016, after the US and Japan.

In the field of trademarks, global yearly applications increased by 16.4 percent to about 7 million in 2016, marking the seventh consecutive year of growth.

"The number of trademarks being sought around the world has increased three-fold since 2001, reflecting the importance of protecting branding assets in today's business environment," Gurry said.

With roughly 3.7 million applications, China continued to become the largest trademark filer last year, followed by the US and Japan.

China accounted for 75 percent of the annual increase in global trademark filing activity.

Applicants from China filed about 1,860 more international applications via the Madrid system in 2016 than in 2015, a surge of 94.7 percent, which pushed the country up from eighth largest origin in 2015 to fourth largest in 2016.

Worldwide industrial design applications grew by 10.4 percent to almost 1 million in 2016, more than half of them from China.

About 16,510 plant variety applications were filed worldwide in 2016, a rise of 8.3 percent from 2015 - the largest increase in annual filings in 15 years.

China ranked No 2 with more than 2,900 filings, after the Community Plant Variety Office of the European Union.

Source: China Daily