China Leads Worldwide Patent Applications, WIPO Says

With the increasing demand for patent translations we’ve seen over the last few years, it’s no surprise that for the fifth consecutive year, patent applications continued to rise worldwide. According to the 2015 edition of the World Intellectual Property Indicators, there were 2.7 million applications in 2014, contributing to a 4.5 percent increase over 2013. Even less surprising is the fact that China accounted for nearly a third of the world’s patent applications during this time period.

In fact, China’s patent office received 928,177 filings, far more than the United States and Japan combined. However, applications from these two countries (as well as Germany) far outpaced Chinese applications in the number filed abroad – with only 36,700.

patent applications

Patent applications increased worldwide in 2014, with China leading the way.

“Demand for IP rights continued to grow around the globe in 2014,” WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said in a press release. “This underscores the central role that new technology and brand recognition play in determining success in today’s marketplace. It also highlights the important task that falls to IP offices in maintaining quality when examining IP applications.”

So why is China leading the pack? The Chinese government continues to provide financial incentives to support patent filings by Chinese entities, and foreign corporations continue to seek protection in China to decrease the risk of infringement by Chinese companies, MultiLing CEO Michael Sneddon wrote in an article for IP Watch earlier this year.

“As China is set to become the largest marketplace in the world, this only makes sense,” MultiLing CEO Michael Sneddon wrote earlier this year. “Patent rights can last for 20 years. While market trends will change dramatically over the next two decades, manufacturers don’t want to abandon China as a potential market for their core technologies.”

It will be interesting to see how the worldwide patent filings hold out over the next few years, especially in China. If you’re doing business in China, what are you seeing or predicting for the new year?