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China Becomes World’s Top Filer of International Patents in 2019

    Source: China IP News

    The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently released the statistics of international applications filed in 2019 via the international patent system (Patent Cooperation Treaty – PCT), the international trademark system (Madrid System) and the international design system (Hague System) during a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland. With 58,990 applications filed in 2019 via WIPO’s PCT System, China overtook the U.S. (57,840), as the top filer of the PCT System. 

    "The innovative technology for which patent applications were filed via the PCT System is having a profound impact on global economic development and has become a significant sign of a country’s comprehensive competitiveness. It is more important than ever to give full respect to the law of market economy and the international IP system, strengthen independent innovation as well as openness and cooperation with a global view in the process of economic globalization," said Shan Xiaoguang, Dean of Shanghai International IP Law School of Tongji University.

    According to WIPO, all IP-related figures hit a new high in 2019. International patent applications (265,800) filed via the PCT System grew by 5.2% over the last year, with China (58,990) pacing all countries, followed by the U.S. (57,840), Japan (52,660), Germany (19,353) and the Republic of Korea (19,085).

    In 2019, Chinese enterprises and universities dominate the show. Of the top 10 corporate applicants, four were from China. Huawei Technologies, with 4,411 published PCT applications, was the top filer in 2019, and the other three companies ranking fifth, sixth and eighth respectively were Guang Dong OppO Mobile Telecommunications (1,927), BOE Technology Group (1,864) and Ping An Technology (Shenzhen) Company (1,691).

    Tiantian, a principal of Ping An Group’s IP team, introduced that in recent years, the company has been gradually building up its international patent landscape in multiple tech fields including facial recognition, smart reading, blockchain, AI composition and smart environmental protection. To the end of 2019, the company had filed a total of 3,680 PCT applications, 1,165 of which were filed overseas, covering 13 countries and regions. "Building your patent landscape overseas is not only a prerequisite for Chinese companies venturing out in the global market, but also a foothold for them to stay there," Tian said.

    Among higher learning institutions, four universities from China joined the top. Tsinghua University ranked second with 265 published PCT applications in 2019, Shenzhen University (247) ranked third, South China University of Technology (164) fifth and Dalian University of Technology (141) seventh. 

    "To file applications via PCT System is of significance for universities to promote IP quality and international application of scientific research achievements. At present, Tsinghua University has further improved IP quality, highlighted IP transformation and application, selected technical fields with disciplinary advantages, outstanding scientific research achievements and broad market prospects as the focus of patent layout, and constantly enhanced IP protection in key areas including new material, high-end equipment, AI and life and health," said Jin Xianqin, Dean of Technology Transfer Office at Tsinghua University.

    "The experience of China’s efforts to build an IP power and obey the law of global market tells us that sound IP protection environment will inject new impetus into China’s reform and opening-up and its high-quality economic development," said Shan Xiaoguang.