China sets global patent filing record | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 23.11.2016
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China sets global patent filing record

China is driving Asian-led growth in innovation worldwide. It set a global record in terms of patent applications filed last year, clearly outshining all runners-up by a wide margin, the United Nations' WIPO reported.

China has become the first country worldwide to file more than a million patent applications in a single year, the UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced Wednesday.

The Asian giant registered 1.1 million patents in 2015, more than the top three runners-up combined. The US finished in second place with 578,000 applications, followed by Japan (325,000) and South Korea (214,000).

"Once again, we see an increasing dominance almost by Asia as the origin of filing activity for intellectual property," WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said in a statement. "If you look at the figures, you see 62 percent of global filing activity for patents is located in Asia."

Strategic move

The bulk of China's applications in 2015 were for domestic protection in patents, trademarks and industrial designs, with only about 42,000 filed abroad. Gurry said China was in process "of making innovation a central point of their economic strategy."

Globally, patent applications hit 2.9 million last year, a nearly 8 percent rise on 2014 figures. The WIPO report noted that innovation had in recent years proven more robust than general economic growth.

By sector, computer technology led the way with 7.9 percent of total applications in 2015, followed by electrical machinery and digital communications.

hg/nz (AFP, Reuters)