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World IP indicators: China witnesses substantial growth across the board

China Intellectual Property News| Updated: December 22, 2022

In 2021, China surpassed the U.S. to become the top jurisdiction in terms of number of patents in force with 3.6 million. China housed 37.2 million active trademarks. The largest number of design registrations in force was also in China with 2.6 million, according to the World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report 2022 unveiled by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on November 21. The report shows that China ranked first in various indicators, reflecting the progresses China has made in IP comprehensive strength and S&T innovation capacity.

Global innovation shows resilience

Bucking the trend from the previous economic downturns, IP filing remained strong during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and soared in 2021, the report shows.

Innovators around the world filed 3.4 million patent applications in 2021, up 3.6% from the previous year with offices in Asia receiving 67.6% of all applications worldwide. An estimated 13.9 million trademark applications covering 18.1 million classes were filed worldwide in 2021, and the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) had the highest volume of filing activity with a class count of around 9.5 million, followed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (899,678), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (497,542). An estimated 1.2 million industrial design were filed worldwide in 2021. Global intellectual property filings for patents, trademarks and designs reached new heights in 2021, showing the resilience of the global innovation ecosystem during the pandemic, according to the report.

"The latest WIPI data show continued and sustained growth in IP filings, driven largely by increases from Asia, with other regions also trending mostly upward. IP filing strength during the pandemic showed that people across the world continued to innovate and create despite the economic and social disruptions caused by the pandemic," said WIPO Director General Daren Tang. Mr. Tang noted however: "This resilience should not be taken for granted. The challenges facing us right now such as climate change and the achievement of the UN SDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) mean that we have to continue supporting innovators and creators to use the IP system to bring their ideas to reality, and create the impact that will change our lives for the better."

China witnesses substantial growth across the board

Strong growth in local patent filings in China, South Korea an India drove the global growth in patent applications in 2021. China witnesses big numbers in all IP categories.

In terms of patent, patents in force worldwide reached around 16.5 million in 2021, 3.6 million of which were from China. There were an estimated 73.7 million active trademark registration at 149 IP offices in 2021, with 37.2 million in China alone. In parallel, the total number of industrial design registration in force worldwide grew by 10.9% in 2021 to reach around 5.3 million, and the largest number of registrations in force was in China (2.6 million). Data from 93 national and regional authorities show there are an estimated 63,600 geographical indications (GIs) under protection in 2021, and China (9,052) reported the largest number of GIs in force.

China's ranking top in multiple indicators reflect China's efforts in bolstering IP protection and use and building China into an IP power house in the world. It also can be corroborated by the facts that the Hague Agreement and the Marrakesh Treaty became effective in China; China has been moving up the ladder consistently in Global Innovation Index for ten consecutive years; and China is home to two of the top five world science and technology clusters. For many years, China has attached great importance to openness and cooperation and evolved itself from a learner and follower into a partner and leader of international IP norm-setting activities. It not only beefs up its socio-economic development, but makes great contribution to the global innovation and prosperity.

China will share experience with other countries in the world, and join forces to build a more vigorous and effective global IP ecosystem, so as to make innovation fruits benefit people around the world and facilitate common development. (by Xue Peiwen)

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