China Tops Patent Application List Worldwide

For the fifth consecutive year, China has topped the world’s patent application list. It has become the first country in the world to file 1 million patent applications in a single year. This was disclosed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) during the launch of its report, “World Intellectual Property Indicators“. With this China is driving Asian-led growth in innovation and showcasing its blooming culture of innovation. However, it has not managed to achieve any key technological breakthroughs and is lacking top level talents.

According to the WIPO, more than 60% of the applications were filed in electrical engineering, which includes telecoms, computer technology and semiconductors, as well as measurement instruments, including medical technology. China is in the process of making innovation a central point of its economic strategy. The bulk of its applications was filed for domestic protection in patents, trademarks and industrial design and only some 42,154 out of 1.01 million applications were filed abroad.


According to the WIPO, around 2.9 million patent applications were filed in 2015 worldwide which is a 7.8% increase over 2014. Around 62% of global filing for patents is located in Asia. The US is ranked at the second place after China, followed by Japan and South Korea.

A patent is an exclusive right granted by a country to the owner of an invention to make, use, manufacture and market the invention, provided the invention satisfies certain conditions stipulated in the law.

An exclusive right implies that no one else can make, use, import manufacture or market the invention without the consent of the patent holder. This right is available for a limited period of time. A patent in the law is a property right and hence, can be gifted, inherited, assigned, sold or licensed. The patent right is territorial in nature and inventors/their assignees will have to file separate patent applications in countries of their interest, along with necessary fees, for obtaining patents in those countries.

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is the global body for promotion and protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.


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