A new WIPO report shows that while the global economy continued to underperform, intellectual property (IP) filings worldwide kept growing strongly in 2011. It also finds that China’s patent office became the largest in the world, as measured by the number of patent applications received. Before 2011, China already accounted for most filings of utility models (UMs), trademarks and industrial designs.1
World Intellectual Property Indicators 2012 shows that patent filings worldwide grew by 7.8% in 2011, exceeding 7% growth for the second year in a row. Similarly, UM, industrial design and trademark filings increased by 35%, 16% and 13.3%, respectively.
“Sustained growth in IP filings indicates that companies continue to innovate despite weak economic conditions. This is good news, as it lays the foundation for the world economy to generate growth and prosperity in the future,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.
China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) overtook the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2011 to become the largest patent office in the world, after having surpassed the Japan Patent Office (JPO) in 2010. In the 100 years before 2011, only three patent offices – Germany, Japan and the United States - had occupied the position of largest office.
In the Report’s foreword, Mr. Gurry points out that “even though caution is required in directly comparing IP filing figures across countries, these trends nevertheless reflect how the geography of innovation has shifted.”