China becomes top filer of international patents in 2019

4. May 2020

By José Santacroce. Partner and Head of Patent Department.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) published on 7 April 2020 a press release summarizing the main activities of the Organization in 2019.

The highlights of the above-mentioned press release are the following:

With 58,990 applications filed in 2019 via WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) System, China ended the United States (57,840 applications in 2019) reign as the biggest user of the PCT System, a position previously held by the U.S. each year since the PCT began operations in 1978.

International patent applications filed via the PCT grew by 5.2% (265,800 applications) in 2019, while international trademark applications via the Madrid System for the International Registration of Marks increased by 5.7% (64,400 applications). Protection for industrial designs via the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs saw a 10.4% growth (21,807 designs).

International patent system, Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)

In 2019, the top ten users of the PCT were: China (58,990 PCT applications), the U.S (57,840), Japan (52,660), Germany (19,353), Republic of Korea (19,085), France (7,934), United Kingdom (5,786), Switzerland (4,610), Sweden (4,185) and Netherlands (4,011).

Top PCT Applicants:

For the third consecutive year, China-based telecoms giant Huawei Technologies, with 4,411 published PCT applications, was the top corporate filer in 2019. It was followed by:

  • Mitsubishi Electric Corp. of Japan (2,661);
  • Samsung Electronics of the Republic of Korea (2,334);
  • Qualcomm Inc. of the U.S. (2,127);
  • Guang Dong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications of China (1,927);
  • Boe Technology Group of China (1,813);
  • Ericsson of Sweden (1,698);
  • Ping An Technology of China (1,691);
  • Robert Bosch of Germany (1,687);
  • LG Electronics of the Republic of Korea (1,646);
  • LG Chem of the Republic of Korea (1,624);
  • Panasonic of Japan (1,567);
  • Sony (1,566);
  • Hewlett-Packard of U.S. (1,507) and
  • Microsoft of U.S. (1,370).

Top technologies:

Among fields of technology, computer technology (8.7% of total) accounted for the largest share of published PCT applications, followed by digital communication (7.7%), electrical machinery (7%), medical technology (6.9%) and measurement (4.7%). Among the top 10 technologies, semiconductors (+12%) and computer technology (+11.9%) were the fields with the highest rates of growth in 2019.


International trademark system (Madrid System)

U.S.-based applicants (10,087) filed the largest number of international trademark applications using WIPO’s Madrid System in 2019, followed by those located in Germany (7,700), China (6,339), France (4,437), Switzerland (3,729), United Kingdom (3,460), Japan (3,160), Italy (2,649), Australia (2,094) and Turkey (1,980).

Top Madrid filers:

L’Oréal of France with 189 applications headed the list of top filers, followed by Novartis AG of Switzerland (135), Huawei Technologies of China (131), Nirsan Connect Private Limited of India (124), Rigo Trading of Luxembourg (103), Apple of U.S. (101), Shiseido of Japan (84), BMW of Germany (78), Henkel of Germany (77) and Richter Gedeon of Hungary (69).

Top classes:

The most-specified class in international applications – computers and electronics – accounted for 10.1% of the total, followed by services for business (8.3%) and technological services (6.7%). Among the top 10 classes, pharmaceuticals and other preparations for medical purposes (+12.4%), and services in the area of education, training, entertainment, sporting and cultural activities (+9.6%) saw the fastest growth.


International design system (Hague System)

The number of designs contained in applications filed under the Hague System grew by 10.4% in 2019, reaching a record 21,807 designs.

Germany, with 4,487 designs, continued to be the largest user of the international design system. The Republic of Korea (2,736 designs) surpassed Switzerland (2,178) to become the second largest users of the Hague System in 2019. Italy and the Netherlands ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, with 1,994 and 1,376 designs.

Top Hague filers:

Samsung Electronics of the Republic of Korea with 929 designs in published registrations headed the list of top filers, followed by Fonkel Meubel marketing of the Netherlands (859), LG Electronics of the Republic of Korea (598), Volkswagen of Germany (536) and Procter & Gamble of the U.S. (410).

Top fields:

Designs related to recording and communication equipment (13.6%) accounted for the largest share of total designs in 2019 followed by furnishing (10.1%); means of transport (9.4%); packages and containers (6.4%); and lighting apparatus (6.2%). Among the top 10 classes, recording and communication equipment (+46.4%) and clothing (+35.1) saw the fastest growth.



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