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Who are the leaders in patent filings?

Posted: 23 Mar 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:patent? WIPO? intellectual property? PCT?

The number of international patents filed and granted often determines the technology prowess of a company, an educational institution or even a nation. Though this is not the only gauge, it gives a basis of comparison on a global scale.

A case in point is China's telecom giant Huawei Technologies, which was the top applicant for international patents in 2014, according to a report published March 19 by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a United Nations agency.

Huawei, with 3,442 published applications, overtook Panasonic Corp. of Japan as the largest applicant in 2014. San Diego, Calif.-based Qualcomm Inc. was second in 2014, with 2,409 published applications. China's ZTE Corp., in third, had 2,179 applications.


WIPO's report is based on the number of patents filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT). According to WIPO, one PCT filing allows applicants to simultaneously seek protection for an invention in 148 countries.

The annually published report paints in broad strokes the global patent landscape. It illustrates who's getting ahead, which geographical regions are gaining ground and the fields of technology in which patent filings are concentrated.

Clearly, the days of simply labelling China as a knock-off nation are fast becoming history.

Intent on shifting from being the global factory for low-cost manufacturing to a nation developing value-added products and technologies, China was the only country to see double-digit growth in filings, according to the report. In contrast, Japan, home to last applications leader, Panasonic, saw its total filings go down.

However, the United States continues to be the primary country of origin for PCT filers in 2014, with 61,492 applications. Registering 7.1 per cent growth, Japan followed the United States with 42,459, representing a 3 per cent decline on 2013. China recorded 25,539 applicationsan 18.7 per cent annual increase.

Europe, which has struggled in a challenging economic environment in recent years, appears to be coming back. "For the first time since 2007, the top three E.U. countries recorded growth in PCT filings, with strong growth coming from France and the United Kingdom," the report said.

Fields of technology

In the WIPO report, which collects data from 35 different technology fields, computer technology had 17,653 published applications, the largest share of PCT applications.

Among the top 10 fields, computer technology saw the fastest growth (19.4 per cent), followed by medical technology (17.1 per cent) and digital communication (14.5 per cent).

Curiously, relative to total applications, the share of pharmaceutical patenting via the PCT has continuously declined since 2007.

The report also covers international trademark applications filed under the WIPO-administered Madrid System, and designs contained in international industrial design applications filed under the Hague System.

The Madrid system is a one-stop solution for registering and managing trademarks worldwide, while the Hague System offers the international registration of industrial designs.

In the following pages, we will offer you snapshots of the global patent, trademark and design trends by the numbers.

Table of contents:

1. WIPO report summary

2. Who leads in the international patent filing?

3. Who made the cut for top 50?

4. Computer and communication rule

5. Where innovations are taking place

6. Most productive universities in filing more patents

7. Who are eager for trademark applications?

8. Top filers of industrial design applications

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