World IP Indicators 2019: Continued Growth in Filings in Asia despite Slowdown in China

Jane Lambert

The World Intellectual Property Organization its World Intellectual Property Indicators Report for 2020 on 7 Dec 2020. For the first time since the 2998 world economic downturn, there had been a 3% drop in patenting activity since 2018 but a sustained increase in the number of applications for trade marks, designs and plant breeders' rights. 

The reason for the reduction in the number of patent applications from 3.3 million in 2018 to 3,2 million in 2019 is that the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) received 9.2% fewer applications in 2019 than it did in the previous year and the Japan Patent Office ("JPO") 1.8% fewer.  The CNIPA still received 1.2 million patent applications which was more than any other office. The US Patent and Trademark Office came second with 621,453, the JPO third with 307,969, the Korea Intellectual Property Office fourth with 218,975 and the European Patent Office fifth with 181,479.  Intellectual property offices located in Asia received 65% of all world filings.

Althugh most of the applications received by the CNIPA originated from the Peoples' Republic of China, that country has now overtaken the USA in the number of applications through the Patent Cooperation Treaty. However, the USA still leads China narrowly in the number of patents in force (3.1 million for the USA compared to 2.7 million for China).  Japan is number 3 with just under 2.1 million, South Korea fourth wth just over 1 million, Germany fifth with 772,358, the UK sixth with 641,897 and France seventh with 640,883.

The CNIPA leads the rest of the world comfortably in the number of utility model applications with 2.3 milloom filings. Germany came second with 11,666 and Russia third wth 10,136 in 2019.  There was a 9.1% increase in the number of patent applications between 2018 and 2019.

China led the world comfortably in the number of trade mark applications (7.8 mi;llion of the world's 15.2 million compared to 672,681 from the USA and 546,244 from Japan.  Interestingly, Iran was number 4 with 454,925 slightly ahead of the EU Intellectual Property Office in Alocante with 497,712. Worldwide trade mark applications increased by 5.9% from 14..3 million the year before 

China received 52% of the world's 1.04 million design applications in 2019.  The EU Intellectual Property Office came second with 113,319 applications and South Korea third with 69,360.  Interestingly, Iran saw a 19.3% increase in the number of design applications.   Germany was the top user of the Hague system followed by South Korea.   There are over 4 million patents in force around the world.  China led the world with 1.8 million in force followed by South Korea with 358,803, the USA 357,959 and Japan 261,669.

China received 7,834 of the world's 21,430 of the world's plant breeders' rights  applications followed by the Community Plant Varieties Office with 3,525, the US Patent and Trademark Office 1,590 and Ukraine 1,238.

German leads the world in the number of geographical; indications with 14,289 of the world's 55,800 in force.  China has 7,834 and Hungary 6,494.

The one area in which the UK leads the world is in the number of trade and educational publications, The UK published 202,000 titles in 2019 followed by Russia with 115,711 and France with 107,143. Over 50% of the UK's titles are onine.

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