Asian inventors filed the largest number of patents in 2015

Chinese innovators file record one million patents in a year

Image credit: Reuters

Chinese inventors filed over one million patents in 2015, which made them the world’s most prolific innovators and the first country in history reaching the one million mark within a single year.

China’s 2015 innovation harvest was driven mostly by advances in telecommunications, computer technology and semiconductors, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has revealed.

Although the majority of the patents apply only domestically, the record speed of innovation is testimony to China’s increasing capabilities in the electronics sector.

Medical and measurement technology was also represented profusely among the 1.01 million applications received by China’s patent office.

“They are in the process of making innovation a central point of their economic strategy,” said Francis Gurry, director-general of WIPO, a UN agency, which has released the data as part of its ‘World Intellectual Property Indicators’ report.

“Once again we see an increasing dominance almost by Asia as the origin of filing activity for intellectual property. If you look at the figures, you see 62 per cent of global filing activity for patents is located in Asia, 55 per cent of global activity in trademarks is located in Asia and 68 per cent of design applications are in Asia.”

More than 42,000 of China’s applications for protection of patents, trademarks and industrial design were filed abroad, according to WIPO.

Worldwide, some 2.9 million patent applications were filed last year, a 7.8 per cent increase over 2014, WIPO said. Roughly two in three patents are ultimately approved, according to Gurry.

The USA ranked second last year with 526,296 patent applications, followed by Japan at 454,285 and South Korea with 238,015.

The UK came up seventh in the number of patents.

China also ranks high in the percentage of patents involving female inventors with about half of all patents filed by research teams involving a woman.

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