China Pulling The Cart To Propel Global IP Filings To New Heights, Trademarks Skyrocketing – WIPO 03/12/2018 by Catherine Saez, 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)Global intellectual property filing numbers kept rising unabated in 2017, as China continued to pull the numbers upwards. The World Intellectual Property Indicators 2018, published today, also showed what the head of the World Intellectual Property Organization qualified as extraordinary growth in trademark applications. And he remarked on the increasing importance of intellectual property in the contemporary economy. WIPO Director General Francis Gurry, center, prepares at today’s press conference in Geneva At a press briefing this morning, WIPO Director General Francis Gurry underlined the significant growth of worldwide IP activities in 2017, with over 5 percent increase for patent filings, and a staggering 30 percent increase in trademark applications. The 2018 WIPO Intellectual Property Indicators is available here. The “extraordinary volume” of IP applications reflects the importance of intellectual property in the contemporary economy, he said. IP applications are mainly driven by innovation and globalisation, by the policy focus on innovation around the world, and the fact that innovation is increasingly the battleground for economic advantage, he explained. “Intellectual property is one of the means by which the competitive advantage conferred by innovation can be secured,” he said. While the increase in IP applications is mainly driven by China, the United States remains the most prominent “externaliser” of its patent applications, Gurry noted, adding that the US filed 231,000 patents abroad, compared to 60,000 patents filed abroad by China. There are some encouraging figures from middle income countries, he said, with China, Iran, Brazil and Russia being among the top 20 countries for trademark filings. WIPO started to better measure the creative economy and began with the 2018 edition of the IP indicators by focusing on the publishing industry (trade, education, science, technical and medical publishing). China reported the largest net revenue in the publishing industry, Gurry said. WIPO Chief Economist Carsten Fink said when WIPO received information from the national IP offices, they were “stunned” by the growth rate of trademark applications in 2017. China accounted for a lot of that increase but double digit growth was also recorded in the US, Japan and a number of developed economies such as Germany, as well as in Brazil. This is quite remarkable, he noted, considering that those are mature markets. The interest in trademarks reflect the importance of brands and designs and the strategic importance for companies to protect their brands, Fink notes. Branding is an important intangible asset for companies, for some it is the most important, he said, adding that as time goes by the importance of this asset seems to be rising. Trademarks – Extraordinary Growth According to the report, trademarks applications “grew by an extraordinary 30% in 2017.” Trademark applications were estimated at 9.11 million globally, grew for the eighth consecutive year, and saw “the highest level of growth recorded in recent decades.” Among the top 20 offices, 16 had higher levels of trademark filing activity in 2017 than 2016. Largest increases were Iran (+87,9 percent), China (+55.2), Japan (24,2), the UK (+24,1), and Canada (+19,5). From 2016 to 2017, Namibia saw an increase of 47.1 percent, Gambia of 21.6 percent, and Georgia of 14.1 percent. India however, saw a decrease of 9.5 percent, while South Africa dropped 30.9 percent. Most trademark applications are filed by residents looking for protection in their domestic jurisdiction, the report said, noting that Brazil, China and the United Kingdom saw large increases in resident applications. Areas where most trademark applications were filed are Nice Classification class 35 (advertising, business management, business administration and office functions). This is followed by goods class 25 (including articles of clothing), class 9 (including scientific, photographic, measuring instruments, recording equipment, computers and software), and class 41 relating to education, entertainment and sport activities. China Leads on Patent Filings; LDCs Mainly Filing Non-Resident Applications According to the report, China filed some 43 percent of world patent filings, and some 46 percent of trademarks filings. Some 3,168,900 patent applications were filed worldwide in 2017, a record number according to the report. Chinese applicants filed 1,381,594 applications, about 43 percent of the total. The ranking of total IP filing activity by origin in 2017 shows China leading, followed by the US, Germany, Japan, South Korea, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, India, and Switzerland. The list of the top 10 offices in 2017 is identical to the 2016 list, the report said. At the other end of the scale, the report shows a number of Latin American countries: Uruguay, Panama, Costa Rica, Jordan, Qatar, Dominican Republic, Tunisia, San Marino, Ghana, Jamaica, Bolivia, and Azerbaijan. Previous years showed some African countries at the bottom of the ranking. According to Mosahid Khan, head, WIPO IP Statistics Section, answering a question about a possible shift between African countries and Latin American countries, it seems that the share of Latin American countries and Africa remains globally the same, and there is not much change in terms of volume. Taken together, the top five offices accounted for 84.5 percent of the world total in 2017, the report found, noting that their combined share in 2007 was 75.2 percent, and China’s share “increased considerably” over the same period. The report noted that Turkey has reported double-digit growth for the past three years, and moved from 25th position in 2014, to 20th in 2017. This growth, the report found, is mainly driven by resident applications. Among the top 20 IP offices, Russia for the second successive year received fewer patent applications in 2017 than in 2016 (-11.3 percent), as did Hong Kong (-5.6 percent), Indonesia (-3.5 percent), and Brazil (-8.4 percent), which showed a decline for the fourth consecutive year. The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) saw growth of 7.2 percent in 2017, and the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) a 2.6 percent increase in 2017. Some offices in low and middle-income countries showed “particularly rapid growth” in 2017, such as Ecuador (+11.5%), Romania (+10.8%) and Colombia (+7.7%). The report noted that at offices of low- and middle-income countries, most of the applications are filed by non-residents. Top Patent Applicants – Asian Companies Lead in Recent Stats The top 10 patent applicants worldwide, based on total number of patent families from 2013 to 2015 were Canon (Japan); Samsung Electronics (South Korea); State Grid Corporation of China; Mitsubishi Electric (Japan); International Business Machines (US); Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha (Japan); Huawai Technologies (China); Toshiba (Japan); LG Electronics (South Korea); and Robert Bosch (Germany). Industrial Designs An estimated 945,100 applications were filed worldwide in 2017, according to the report, noting that it is not possible to calculate a meaningful growth rate for global design applications in 2017 due to changes in methodology of the Chinese patent office. China now counts only industrial design application filings for which the filing fees have been paid. “As filings in China account for more than half of all industrial design applications filed around the world, comparison of 2016 and 2017 estimated world totals would not reflect the actual trend in global filing activity,” the report explained. Areas where most industrial designs were filed were furnishings (10 percent), clothing (8,5), and packages and containers (7.2). Plant Variety Protection, Geographical Indications According to the report, plant variety applications grew at their fastest rate in 15 years, and China became the top filing office in 2017, with 4,465 applications. During the press briefing, Gurry said that plant variety protection is an extremely important area for increasing productivity in agriculture. The report also includes statistics on geographical indications (GIs) covering data for 54 jurisdictions. GIs can be protected through a variety of legal means, the report noted, including sui generis systems, trademark laws, and international agreements. That makes it difficult to map all GIs protected in any particular country, the report said. According to the report, Germany had the largest number of GIs in force (14,073), followed by Austria (8,749), China (8,507), Hungary (6,646), Czech Republic (6,191), Bulgaria (6,096) and Italy (5,977). GIs relating to wines and spirits accounted for 57.1 percent of the 2017 total, followed by agricultural products and foodstuffs. China, Hungary, India and Iran each had more than 100 GIs for handicrafts in force in their jurisdictions, it said. Publishing Industry – China Booms The 2018 edition of the World Intellectual Property Indicators includes for the first time statistics on the creative economy, Data for the publishing industry are compiled by private entities and national publishers’ associations, the report said. It noted that China’s publishing industry revenue reached US$202 billion in 2017, followed by the US (US$25.9 billion), Germany (US$5.8 billion), and the UK (US$4.7 billion). The 2018 edition of the WIPO IP Indicators includes an overview of patent litigation systems across jurisdictions. Image Credits: Catherine Saez, 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 Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."China Pulling The Cart To Propel Global IP Filings To New Heights, Trademarks Skyrocketing – WIPO" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.