US and China drive international patent filing growth


The total number of filings under WIPO-World Intellectual Property Organization’s Patent and Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications filed in 2013 amounted to 205,300, representing 5.1% growth compared with 2012. The PCT system allows users to seek patent protection simultaneously in multiple jurisdictions by filing a single international patent application. The United States of America saw double digit growth in PCT filings and together with China accounted for 56% and 29% of the total PCT growth, respectively. With 57,239 applications in 2013, the US exceeded in 2013 its previous filing peak of 54,046 applications reached prior to the global financial crisis in 2007. China surpassed Germany to become the third largest user of the PCT system, with Japan as the second-highest user. The US remains the most-active user of the system. “The new records in international IP filings – said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry – attest to the importance of intellectual property in the global innovation ecosystem. WIPO’s global intellectual property systems are an indispensable part of the global innovation ecosystem, providing cost-effective options to secure international coverage for the protection of intellectual property”.
International trademark applications filed under the Madrid system grew to 46,829 in 2013, the highest number ever recorded, representing 6.4% growth on 2012. WIPO’s Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks (the Madrid system) makes it possible to register trademarks in multiple jurisdictions by filing a single international application. The US accounted for 21.8% of the total growth. Germany, with 6,822 applications, continued to file the largest number of Madrid international applications, followed by the US (6,043) and France (4,239).
International industrial design applications filed under the Hague system increased to 2,990 filings in 2013, also another record, representing growth of 14.8% on 2012. WIPO’s Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs (the Hague system) makes it possible for an applicant to register up to 100 industrial designs in multiple jurisdictions by filing a single international application. Switzerland, with 662 applications, overtook Germany (643 applications) as the largest user of the system.
Among the top 10 PCT filing countries, China (+15.6%), the US (+10.8%) and Sweden (+10.4%) saw double-digit growth in 2013. The US saw its fastest growth rate since 2001. China’s growth rate is similar to the one it registered in 2012. Germany (-4.5%) and the UK (-0.6%) are the only two countries among the top ten with fewer PCT applications in 2013 than in 2012. Following strong growth in 2011 and 2012, Japan saw only modest growth of 0.6% in 2013. After China, India (1,392) is the largest user of the PCT system among low- and middle-income countries, followed by Turkey (835), Brazil (661), South Africa (350), Malaysia (310) and Mexico (233). Among those countries, Turkey (+56.1%) saw the fastest growth in filings, followed by Mexico (+22%) and Brazil (+12.2%). Panasonic Corporation of Japan – with 2,881 published PCT applications – overtook ZTE Corporation of China (2,309) as the top applicant in 2013. ZTE Corporation was the top applicant in 2011 and 2012, while Panasonic Corporation headed the top applicant list in 2009 and 2010. Huawei Technologies, Co. of China (2,094) and Qualcomm Incorporated of the US (2,036) are the two other applicants that saw more than 2,000 PCT applications published in 2013. Among the top 50 applicants, Intel Corporation of the US (+1,212) saw the largest increases in PCT filings, while ZTE Corporation (-1,597) saw the largest decline. Looking at the technology distribution of Panasonic’s patenting activity, semiconductor devices account for the largest number of PCT applications, followed by television related technology and batteries for conversion of chemical into electrical energy. ZTE Corporation and Huawei Technologies, Co. applications show a focus on digital communication and computer technology. Both companies filed the largest number of applications in technologies related to wireless communication networks, followed by transmission of digital information and digital data processing. In regard to PCT filings by field of technology, electronic machinery with 14,897 published applications – or 7.8% of the total – accounted for the largest share of PCT applications, followed by computer technology (7.7%) and digital communications (7.3%). Panasonic Corporation, Toyota Jidosha KK, Robert Bosch Corporation and Siemens AG are the top applicants for electronic machinery. Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Qualcomm Incorporated, and NEC Corporation are the top applicants for computer technology. In digital communications, ZTE Corporation, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd, Ericsson and Qualcomm Incorporated are the top four applicants.
The ranking of the top 10 Madrid filing countries is similar to that of 2012. Among the top 10 origins, Australia (+20.9%), the Netherlands (+14.9%) and the US (+11.3%) saw the fastest growth in filings in 2013, while Japan is the only country to have recorded a decline in filings on 2012. Beyond the top 10, Turkey (1,213) and the Russian Federation (1,126) are also large users of the Madrid system. Mexico (46) and India (41) – two new Madrid members – filed similar numbers of international trademark applications in 2013.
The top three Hague users – Switzerland, Germany, and Italy – accounted for 58% of the total Hague applications filed in 2013. Among low- and middle -income countries, Turkey (70) filed the largest number of Hague applications, followed by Bulgaria (22) and China (18). Among the top 10 countries, Italy (+121.7%) and Norway (+105.9%) saw the most rapid growth in applications in 2013, while Sweden (-5.8%), France (-4.9%), the Netherlands (-4.6%) and Turkey (-2.8%) recorded filing declines. In 2013, the total number of designs filed under the system grew by 5.8%. Germany accounted for 27.5% of the total, followed by Switzerland (23%), France (10.8%) and Italy (8.4%). For the second consecutive year, Swatch AG of Switzerland (113) filed the largest number of Hague applications, followed by Koninklijke Philips Electronics (82), the Procter & Gamble Company (76), Daimler AG (52) and Volkswagen (51). All of the top 20 applicants are European companies, except the Procter & Gamble Company and the Gillette Company of the US. Among the top 20 applicants, Swatch AG (+32), Omega SA (+23), and the Procter & Gamble Company (+22) saw the largest increases in filings in 2013, while Audi AG of Germany (-41) and Daimler AG (-23) recorded the steepest declines.
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