China’s ZTE Corporation overtook its crosstown rival Huawei Technologies as the biggest filer of international patent applications via WIPO in 2016 and U.S.-based Qualcomm Inc. claimed third position amid another year of strong demand for World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO) intellectual property filing services for patents, trademarks and industrial designs.
Saturday, March 25th saw WIPO publish its 2016 statistics for filings under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
Applicants in the United States sustained their number one ranking for the 39th year running, accounting for 24.3% of the 233,000 applications filed under the PCT. This itself was a 7.3% year-on-year increase. Japan was second on the list, accounting for 19.4% of the applications, closely followed by with China’s 18.5%.
If this development endures, China will overtake the U.S. within two years as the largest user of the PCT System. Germany with 18,315 made the fourth highest number of applications, with the Republic of Korea, making 15,560 applications, fifth.
Asia accounted for 47.4% of the overall PCT applications, just short of the combined share of Europe’s 25.6%, and North America’s 25.3%.
Among the top 15 origins, China recorded extraordinary growth +44.7%, while Italy +9.3%, Israel +9.1%, India +8.3% and the Netherlands +8% also recording strong growth rates.
In contrast, Canada -17.3% – for the second consecutive year – saw a substantial decline in filings, linked to declining applications from RIM/Blackberry and Nortel.
ZTE Corporation published 4,123 PCT applications and Huawei Technologies with 3,692 – occupied the top two spots in the list of top PCT applicants, with ZTE moving up two spots to push Huawei out of the leader position.
Trade mark applications under the Madrid System also displayed a steady growth of 7.2%, again with China’s +68%, as the fastest growing country of origin. L’Oréal, Glaxo Group and BMW are the biggest filers. China, with 22,314 designations, the European Union’s 21,526 and the United States’ 20,979 were the three most designated members in international Madrid applications.
Filings for design protection under The Hague System increased by no less than 13%. Germany, with 3,917 designs was the largest user of The Hague System, followed by Switzerland’s 2,555 applications. Fonkel Meubelmarketing of the Netherlands had 953 designs and overtook Samsung Electronics of the Republic of Korea (862) as the largest user of The Hague System. The Republic of Korea’s LG Electronics with 728 designs was in third position, followed by Swatch of Switzerland (383) and Procter & Gamble of the U.S. (348).
Patent statistics are to be taken with a grain of salt. For a start, US companies rely less on the PCT than Asian countries, so PCT statistics may not accurately reflect their patenting activities. However, the increase in Chinese filings shows a new era of Asian patent dominance may be but a year or two away.