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3 Million Patent Applications Filed Worldwide in 2016

New Delhi (ABC Live): Patent Applications : More than 3 million patent applications were filed worldwide in 2016 – a record number For the first time, more than 3 million patent applications were filed worldwide in a single year, up 8.3% from 2015 .

Driving such strong growth was an exceptional number of filings in China, which received about 236,600 or 98% of the additional filings.

The next largest contributor was the United States of America (U.S.) with around 16,200 additional filings.

Following a modest increase of 4.5% in 2014, the growth rate picked up in both 2015 (+7.7%) and 2016 (+8.3%), aligning with the annual growth rates of between 8% and 9% observed between 2011 and 2013. But when patent applications in China are excluded, applications filed in the rest of the world grew by only 0.2% in 2016

China received more applications than the combined total for the EPO, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the U.S.

The State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO) received 1.3 million patent applications in 2016 – more than the combined total for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO; 605,571), the Japan Patent Office (JPO; 318,381), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO; 208,830) and the European Patent Office (EPO; 159,358). Together, these top five offices accounted for 84% of the world total in 2016, which is nine percentage points higher than their combined share 10 years earlier.

The list of top 10 offices in 2016 is almost the same as for 2015, except that Brazil was replaced by Australia as the tenth highest ranked office in 2016 . Brazil moved down one position as a result of a 7.3% annual decline in filings.

Of the top 20 patent offices, 12 were located in highincome countries, six in upper middle-income countries and two in lower middle-income countries. In terms of geographical distribution, eight offices were located in Asia, six in Europe, two in North America, two in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and one each in Africa and Oceania.

Eight of the top 20 offices received more applications in 2016 than in 2015, while 12 received fewer. South Africa (+29.5%), China (+21.5%) and China Hong Kong (SAR; +15.4%) all exhibited double-digit growth.

The strong growth in filings in China Hong Kong (SAR) and South Africa followed small declines at those offices the previous year, while China has had double-digit growth each year since 2010.

The increases in applications filed in China and South Africa were both driven mainly by growth in resident applications, whereas growth in China Hong Kong (SAR) came primarily from an increase in non-resident applications.

Another office that showed notable growth in 2016 was that of the Islamic Republic of Iran (+9.5%). Of the 12 offices among the top 20 that received fewer applications in 2016 than in 2015, the Russian Federation (-8.6%), Brazil (-7.3%), Indonesia (-6.7%), and Canada (-6%) reported the most substantial declines.

Applications in Brazil fell for a third consecutive year. Following strong growth in applications received in 2015, Canada, Indonesia and the Russian Federation all saw decreases in 2016. A decline in resident applications was the primary reason for the decrease in total applications for the Russian Federation, whereas a decline in non-resident applications was the main driver for Canada and Brazil.

Among the top five offices, the JPO (-0.1%) saw a small drop in applications, continuing a trend that started in 2006 and mainly reflects a persistent fall in resident applications.

The number of resident applications filed at the JPO has declined from around 347,000 in 2006 to around 260,200 in 2016.

Following two consecutive years of growth, the EPO’s filings declined by 0.4% in 2016 due to a drop in non-resident applications. KIPO has enjoyed solid growth in applications received each year since 2010, but filings there declined by 2.4% in 2016 primarily due to a decline in resident applications.

SIPO, however, continues to experience very strong growth in applications received and retains top spot. The USPTO has seen seven consecutive years of growth. Among offices of low- and middle-income countries, Morocco (+27.6%), the Republic of Moldova (+25%), Sri Lanka (+19.1%) and Turkey (+17.2%) recorded particularly rapid growth in 2016. Growth in resident applications was the main driver of total growth in the Republic of Moldova, Sri Lanka and Turkey, while non-resident applications were the main driver in Morocco.

The three regional offices – the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO) – have seen applications fall for two successive years, mainly due to a drop in resident applications. At most offices of low- and middle-income countries, the bulk of applications is filed by non-residents.

As a result, overall increases or decreases in applications received by these offices are determined mainly by the filing behavior of non-resident applicants.


About Anu Aggarwal

Ms. Anu Aggarwal is a copy rights and patent expert, reports for ABC Live on Intellectual Property Rights.

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