China is projected to overtake the United States within three years as the largest source of applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty via the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the WIPO said in a report released on Wednesday.
Of the top 15 countries, China is the only one to have recorded double-digit annual growth, 13.4 percent, with the total number of applications registered at 48,882. China has recorded a growth rate higher than 10 percent every year since 2003.
Japan posted strong growth in 2017 but was edged out of the second position by China.
"This rapid rise in the Chinese use of the international patent system shows that innovators there are increasingly looking outward, seeking to spread their original ideas into new markets as the Chinese economy continues its rapid transformation," said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. "This is part of a larger shift in the geography of innovation, with half of all international patent applications now originating in East Asia."
Two Chinese technology companies Huawei and ZTE were the top filers of international patent applications in 2017. They were followed by Intel, Mitsubishi and Qualcomm.
The WIPO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for intellectual property policy, services, information and cooperation.