World Intellectual Property Indicators: Filings for Patents, Trademarks, Industrial Designs Reach Record Heights in 2018

Asia accounted for more than two-thirds of all patent, trademark and industrial design applications in 2018, with China driving overall growth in demand for intellectual property (IP) rights as the United States of America (U.S.) maintained its primacy in patent applications filed in export markets.

Innovators across the globe filed 3.3 million patent applications in 2018, up 5.2% for a ninth straight yearly increase, according to WIPO’s annual World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report. Global trademark filing activity rose to 14.3 million, while that for industrial designs reached 1.3 million.

“Asia continues to outpace other regions in filing activity for patents, trademarks, industrial designs and other intellectual property rights that are at the center of the global economy,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry. “China alone accounted for almost half of all the world’s patent filings, with India also registering impressive increases. Asia has become a global hub for innovation.”

In addition, worldwide plant variety applications grew by 8.9% to reach 20,210 applications in 2018, while data received from 92 national and regional authorities showed some 65,900 protected geographical indications (GIs) in 2018.

IP rights 2017 2018 Growth (%),
Number of patent applications 3,162,300 3,326,300 5.2
Number of classes specified in trademark applications 12,395,700 14,321,800 15.5
Number of designs contained in industrial design applications 1,242,100 1,312,600 5.7
Number of plant variety applications 18,550 20,210 8.9
Number of geographical indications in force n.a. 65,900 n.a.

World Intellectual Property Indicators 2019

Today ( Oct.16, 2019) WIPO released the 2019 edition of its annual World Intellectual Property Indicators report (WIPI). This flagship publication presents the latest trends in global intellectual property (IP) activity covering patents, utility models, trademarks, industrial designs, microorganisms, plant variety protection and geographical indications. This year’s edition also draws on survey data and industry sources to give a picture of activity in the publishing industry. The report includes around 180 indicators covering data for 160 IP offices around the world.
In 2018, patent filings worldwide amounted to 3.3 million, up 5.2 %; trademark filing activity reached 14.3 million, up 15.5 %; industrial designs grew by 5.7 % to reach 1.3 million and plant variety applications grew by 8.9 % to reach 20,210 applications. In addition, around 65,900 geographical indications were protected across 92 national and regional jurisdictions.

In 2018, Asia accounted for two-thirds of patent, trademark and industrial design filing activity, with China’s IP office receiving the highest volumes for each of these IP rights.

Beyond these headline figures, the WIPI 2019 provides many interesting statistical breakdowns offering insights into what is shaping the global IP system.
For example, half of the 3.1 million patents in force in the U.S. in 2018 originated from non-resident applicants, while resident applicants accounted for around 70% of all patents in force in China. Trademark filing activity at 16 of the top 20 offices was higher in 2018 than in 2017, with seven of them recording growth in excess of 10 %.