With a record of 265,800 international patent applications filed last year, China unseats the United States which had dominated the top spot for more than four decades, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) said in its annual report.
Under the WIPO's complex system of registering international patents, China topped the ranking for the main category – the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) with a total of 58,990 applications. Thus, surpassing the United States which filed a total of 57,840 applications. The United States has dominated the top spot since the PCT system took effect in 1978.
Contributing to the largest number of China’s application is the China-based telecom giant, Huawei Technologies, with 4,411 PCT applications.
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said that back in 1999 the organization had received just 276 patent applications from China In a statement he added that "China's rapid growth to become the top filer of international patent applications via WIPO underlines a long-term shift in the locus of innovation towards the East, with Asia-based applicants now accounting for more than half of all PCT applications," WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said in a statement.
Following the spots held by China and the United States are Japan, Germany, and South Korea as the world's top patent application filers, the WIPO added.
The WIPO report showed an increase of more than 50% of Asian-based applicants while Europe and North America are lagging for less than a quarter each.