Global IP Registration Increases; China At Forefront Of IP Filings 17/12/2014 by Elena Bourtchouladze for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)The World Intellectual Property Organization this week issued its 2014 edition of the World Intellectual Property Indicators report, finding growth in intellectual property filings in China and the United States, and decline in Europe and Japan. The full report is available here [pdf]. The year of 2013 witnessed increases in IP filing activity, amounting to 9 percent for patents, 6.4 percent for trademarks, 2.5 percent in the number of industrial designs contained in applications, and 6.3 percent for plant varieties, as summarised in the press release. WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, speaking at a 16 December press briefing, said that the continuation of consistent growth of the IP system is “one of the indicators of the knowledge economy.” The growth in IP filing activity is largely driven by China, which had the largest numbers of patent filings, trademark filings and industrial design filings in 2013. As a result of the high number of applications filed in China, Asia is occupying an important position in IP filing, having received 58.4 percent of patent applications filed worldwide, 48.2 percent of trademark filings and 69.4 percent of design filings worldwide. “China takes intellectual property very seriously both strategically and in terms of providing an administrative and legislative infrastructure,” Gurry said. Stressing the importance of the Chinese phenomenon, Gurry said that “what we see in the intellectual property filing field is a mirror of what we see in the world economy.” In the case of patents, there is domination of filings by industrialised countries and China, in the trademarks sector it is more mixed, and in the case of industrial designs, China is predominant but there are also important filings from other developing countries, including Turkey and Morocco, Gurry said. Patents Out of 2.57 million patent applications filed worldwide in 2013, China filed 32.1 percent of world total, followed by the US with 22.3 percent, while the patent applications filings at the European Patent Office dropped to 5.8 percent. The top 10 offices for patent applications received in 2013 were China, the US, Japan, South Korea, the EPO, Germany, Russia, India, Canada and Brazil. In general, numbers of filings do not necessarily reflect quality. While China is the largest in terms of resident filings, it gave way to the US and Japan in relation to filings abroad with more than 200,000 patent applications for each compared to approximately 30,000 applications by Chinese applicants abroad. The Chinese IP system is relatively young, WIPO Chief Economist Carsten Fink said at the briefing. “One should not forget that China is a very large market, so necessity of Chinese companies to file abroad is certainly smaller than it is in case of a Swiss applicant,” he said. With respect to the fields of technology, computer technology is on the top of the list with 7.6 percent of total worldwide filings, followed by electrical machinery, measurement, digital communication and medical technology. Switzerland filed mostly in pharmaceuticals, Russia in food chemistry, France and Germany in transport, and China, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the US in computer technology, the report says. International applications also saw growth by 5.1 percent in patent filings with more than 200,000 applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty managed by WIPO, where China and the US were the driving force of such an increase. Top PCT applicants include Panasonic (Japan), ZTE (China) and Huawei Technologies (China). The number of patents granted worldwide was close to 1.2 million, with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and Japan Patent Office (JPO) granting around 277,000 patents, and the estimated number of patents in force rose to 9.45 million in 2013. “There is a correlation between the business cycle and patent filings. We saw that quite clearly in the course of the great financial crisis in 2009, after which in most jurisdictions there was a significant drop in patent filings,” Fink said. “But the correlation is not one for one. There are many factors that influence patent filing from one year to the next.” Trademarks In the trademark arena, the filing activity also showed an increase amounting to 4.87 million trademark applications worldwide. The number of registered trademarks also showed growth, rising 2.4 percent to 2.99 million trademark registrations. International registration of trademarks also witnessed growth by 6.4 percent with nearly 47,000 applications filed through the Madrid system. Top Madrid applicants include Novartis (Switzerland), Zentiva Group (Czech Republic), Gyógyszergyár (Hungary), L’Oréal (France) and Boehringer Ingelheim (Germany). The leaders in trademark registrations were China with 1.88 million class counts, followed by the US (486,128) and European Union’s (EU) Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (324,749). The most important industry sectors for trademark filing activity were agriculture (16.5 percent), clothing (14.3 percent) and research and technology (13.9 percent). Industrial Designs With an estimated 956,600 industrial design applications filed worldwide in 2013, this sector saw modest growth by 1.7 percent comparing to 2012. The slowdown in worldwide filing activity in this sector is due to a sharp slowdown in design filings in China, which may be accountable to the more stringent examination practices at the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO), the report says. Fewer registrations in China were also the reason for the 6.4 percent decrease in industrial design registrations with an estimated number of 647,300 registrations worldwide in 2013. There were 2,734 international design registrations recorded under the Hague system in 2013. The main corporations using this system included Swatch (Switzerland), Philips Electronics (the Netherlands) and Procter and Gamble (US). Plant Varieties The 2013 saw an increase in plant variety applications by 6.3 percent, amounting to 15,200 applications, which was mainly due to increased filings at the EU Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO), which received 3,296 applications and in the offices of Ukraine (1,544), China (1,510) and the US (1,406). Applicants from the Netherlands filed the largest number of applications accounting to 2,943, followed by those from the US (1,879) and China (1,433). The total number of plant varieties in force exceeded 100,000 in 2013. Elena Bourtchouladze (LLB, DEA) holds a PhD degree in Public International Law from the Graduate Institute (Geneva) with focus on the WTO TRIPS Agreement and WIPO Conventions. She is a researcher at IP-Watch, and has experience in regulatory and litigation at a multinational company and an international organisation. Image Credits: WIPO Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Elena Bourtchouladze may be reached at email@example.com."Global IP Registration Increases; China At Forefront Of IP Filings" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.