The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has released their 2016 edition of World Intellectual Property Indicators. Through their own data, combined with that of global patent offices and the World Bank, they seek to build a comprehensive picture of the state of intellectual property around the world. The indicators span from patents to microorganisms and plant varieties filed in over 100 different countries.
Director General Francis Gurry is optimistic about the global IP market. “As policymakers seek to invigorate growth around the world, it is encouraging to report that intellectual property activity saw healthy growth in 2015,” wrote WIPO Director General Francis Gurry in the report’s Foreword. He expanded on this in a press conference, “Activity in the knowledge economy … is performing at a rate which is uncharacteristic given the general circumstances in the world.”
He contrasted the 1% growth rate in developed countries with the rising demand for patent applications, which have risen by almost a million since 2010. China is responsible for much of this growth, in 2015 they were the first patent office to take in over a million applications. This means they took more than the next three largest offices combined. China also were responsible for the most granted applications, with 359,000 total accepted.
This is part of a larger, increasing, trend which saw in 2015 a 15.3% increase in trademark applications and a 7.3% increase in patent applications. It’s worth taking a closer look at the breakdown of categories to understand these increases further. Of the 1.2 million patents accepted in 2015 7.5% of them were for computer technology and the top three categories are all technological in nature. This highlights the importance of high-tech innovation to global growth and puts China at the forefront of this innovation.
The rising global influence of China can be seen further. The Chinese patent office is responsible for 65% of the 872,000 design applications and 45% of the 5 million trademark applications. They also accounted for 84% of the increase in patent applications from 2014 to 2015.
For more insight into the state of world IP, take a look at international patent agency Morningside IP.