3.3 million patent applications were filed worldwide in 2018, reports WIPO in its IP Report 2018. Statistics show large increases for China.
Worldwide patent applications 2018
3.3 million patents were filed worldwide in 2018, reports the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in its latest report on IP statistics. This represents an increase of 5.2% over the previous year.
The Chinese Patent Office accepted a total of 1.54 million patent applications in 2018, followed by patent offices in the USA, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Europe (EPO). For China, this meant double-digit growth, while patent applications in the USA and Japan declined slightly.
PCT patent applications
The number of applications for international patents as PCT applications also increased. The International Patent Convention makes it possible to apply for patent protection for an invention simultaneously in almost 150 countries by filing a single “international” PCT patent application.
Already in May 2019 WIPO published its annual report 2018 on the international PCT patent applications – please read our article on PCT patent applications: WIPO Annual Report 2018.
The current WIPO IP Facts shows important key figures on PCT patent applications:
- 630,000 (+2.3%) PCT national phase entries
- 253,000 (+3.9%) PCT applications filed
- 54,341 (+3.8%) Applicants
- 127(+1) Countries in which PCT applications were filed
- 57.3%(+1 percentage point) Share of national PCT phase entries in worldwide non-resident applications
- 17.1%(+0.8 percentage points) Proportion of women among PCT inventors
The most frequent users of the PCT system in 2018 are still the USA with 56,142 PCT applications, closely followed by China with 53,345 PCT applications. While the USA hardly changed compared to the previous year, this meant an increase in PCT applications of 9.1 % for China. With 49,702 applications, Japan – as a third party – is also one of the frequent users of the PCT system.
However, Germany has also caught up in this area and increased its PCT applications by 3.1 % to 19,883 compared to the previous year, which puts it ahead of South Korea with 17,014 PCT applications.
Top ten companies leading in 2018
The WIPO report also identified the top ten companies that were leading in the number of PCT applications.
The top ten companies among all PCT applications in 2018 were:
- Huawei (5,405 patent applications)
- Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (2,812 patent applications)
- Intel Corporation (2,499 patent applications)
- Qualcomm Incorporated (2,404 patent applications)
- ZTE Corporation (2,080 patent applications)
- Samsung Electronics Co., LTD (1,997 patent applications)
- Boe Technology Group Co., LTD (1,813 patent applications)
- LG Electronics INC. (1,697 patent applications)
- Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (1,645 patent applications)
- Robert Bosch Corporation (1,524 patent applications)
As you can see, the top PCT applicant was the telecommunications company Huawei (China). Then nothing follows for a long time, because the second-placed company Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (Japan) has filed only half of PCT applications in 2018 compared to Huawei. If one considers that ZTE Corporation and Boe Technology Group Co., LTD are also companies from China, the Chinese dominance in international patent applications can be clearly seen.
The long international phase of a PCT patent application of 30 or 31 months leads to the fact that many PCT applications are ultimately not realized in the national phase and are actually implemented as a permanent patent. However, it is more than clear that China is determined to secure these options.
Worldwide patent applications outside the own contry
It is also interesting to look at the data from the point of view of who filed most patent applications outside their own country rather than nationally. These are not necessarily PCT applications, but may also be patent applications filed directly with the relevant patent offices outside the country. The USA is the leader with more than 230,000 patent applications, ahead of Japan with approx. 207,000 patent applications and Germany with approx. 107,000 patent applications. China ranks fifth in this statistical ranking – behind South Korea – with approx. 66,000 patent applications.
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