The annual report from WIPO (The World Intellectual Property Organisation) stated that the patent filings rose by 9.2% last year, representing the fastest growth in 18 years, reaching an estimated 2.35 million. Industrial design registration also saw an unsurpassed rate of growth.
In 2009 intellectual property filings had declined by 3.9%, at the height of the financial crisis, but have been increasing rapidly since then, rising by 7.6% in 2010 and 8.1% in 2011.
China has filed for the highest number of patents in the world for the first time, totalling 560,681. Japan came next with 480,000 filings and the US third filing for 460,000 applications. These figures represent the nationals of these respective countries and also those seeking patent protection there.
China’s state Intellectual Property office received the largest number of applications by any one single office in 2011 with 652,777 filings and a growth of 24%, not only ranking first in the number of filings for patent applications, but in three other types of intellectual property registration.
WIPO head Francis Gurry told reporters: “These are well in excess of the rate of growth worldwide of the global economy and well in excess of most economies’ individual performances… as a broad generalisation, patent applications tend to track economic performance”.
“So enormous investment in research and development, enormous investment in education, and investment in knowledge infrastructure are also being reflected in the take-up in the use of the intellectual property system,” he added.
It is unusual for a country to have such a large share in the number of patent filings if it is not a high-income country, as traditionally the high-income countries do take up the majority share. This was the case in 2011 where high-income countries shared two thirds of the patent filings.
For trade mark applications, IP offices saw growth in class, namely Turkey (24.1%) and China (16%), reporting the fastest growth.
This data reflects the growth in the recognition of intellectual property protection and the importance of registering your intellectual property.
This article was written by Saowanee Kristin, a post-graduate IP student