China's intellectual property (IP) office led the world in 2020 by reporting 1.5 million patent applications, 2.5 times more than the United States, which ranked second, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) said on Monday.
According to the 2021 edition of the WIPO's "World Intellectual Property Indicators," despite the COVID-19 pandemic, international patent applications increased again in 2020 after the first drop in a decade in 2019.
Driven by long-term growth in China as well as increased IP activity in other Asian countries, Asia accounted for two-thirds of all applications filed worldwide in 2020. This was a considerable increase from the 51.5 percent registered in 2010.
China registered the fastest growth in the number of patents in force in 2020, followed by Germany, the United States and South Korea.
An estimated 13.4 million trademark applications covering 17.2 million classes of goods and services were filed worldwide in 2020. The number of classes grew by a remarkable 13.7 percent in 2020, marking an eleventh successive year of growth, the WIPO said.
China's class count was the highest at around 9.3 million, followed by that of the United States, Iran, the European Union (EU) and India.
Industrial design is another area where China has taken the lead, followed by the EU, South Korea, the United States and Turkey.
"WIPO's World Intellectual Property Indicators report confirms that despite the deepest economic contraction in decades, intellectual property filings -- a strong indicator of innovation -- showed remarkable resilience during the pandemic," said Daren Tang, WIPO director general.