Innovators around the world filed 3.1 million patent applications in 2016, up 8.3 percent in a seventh straight yearly increase, a World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) report showed Wednesday.
Worldwide filings for patents, trademarks and industrial designs reached record heights in 2016 due to soaring demand in China, according to WIPO's annual World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report.
China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) received the highest number of patent applications in 2016, a record total of 1.3 million. It was followed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) (605,571), the Japan Patent Office (JPO) (318,381), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) (208,830) and the European Patent Office (EPO)(159,358), said the report.
China received about 236,600 of the nearly 240,600 additional patent filings, accounting for 98 percent of total growth, it said.
Trademark applications jumped by 16.4 percent to about 7 million, and worldwide industrial design applications grew by 10.4 percent to almost 1 million, both also driven by growth in China, it added.
"The latest figures charting a rise in demand for intellectual property rights confirm a decade-long trend, where developments in China increasingly leave their mark on the worldwide totals," WIPO Director General Francis Gurry told journalists.
"China is increasingly amongst the leaders in global innovation and branding," he said at a media conference, adding that "the numbers from China are quite extraordinary."
The WIPO head noted that that this is seventh straight year of growth for patents and trademarks which is "quite extraordinary...because compared to growth in the world economy that is a very different picture."
He observed that patent applications are an indicator of innovative output, but the innovation ecosystem is quite complex and involves a number of factors.