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Innovation nation: China driving growth in intellectual property filings

Some 3.17 million global patent applications were filed in 2017, up almost six percent year on year, according to the latest report from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

“China is driving the growth in filings for patents, trademarks, industrial designs and other IP rights that are at the heart of the global economy,” it said.

The report said that the country recorded the highest application volume for each of those IP rights in 2017. Innovators and creators inside the country, as well as foreign entities, were seeking to protect and promote their work in one of the worlds fastest-growing major economies.

“Demand for IP protection is rising faster than the rate of global economic growth, illustrating that IP-backed innovation is an increasingly critical component of competition and commercial activity,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “In just a few decades, China has constructed an IP system, encouraged homegrown innovation, joined the ranks of the worlds IP leaders – and is now driving worldwide growth in IP filings.”

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Chinas IP office received the highest number of patent applications in 2017, a record total of 1.38 million, followed by the US (607,000), Japan (318,000), South Korea (205,000), and the European Patent Office (167,000). Those top five offices account for 84.5 percent of the worlds total recorded patent applications.

Asia has strengthened its position as the region with most patent filings, with Asian offices receiving 65 percent of all applications filed in 2017, up from 50 percent in 2007.

The number of Chinas industrial designs applications represents 50.6 percent of all industrial design applications filed worldwide. The number of trademark applications by Chinese innovators increased by about 55 percent, representing 46 percent of all trademark applications filed.

Owing to the support for high-tech industry and the protection of IP rights, Chinas patent applications last year mainly concerned electronic devices and computing and digital telecommunications technologies.

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