China became the world leader in international patent filings last year, surpassing the United States which held the top spot for more than four decades, the United Nations patent agency said.
The World Intellectual Property Organization, which oversees a system for countries to share recognition of patents, released its annual report for 2019 in Geneva on Tuesday, showing a record 265,800 international patent applications were filed last year, up 5.2 percent from 2018.
In the main category of WIPO's system of registering international patents - the Patent Cooperation Treaty, or PTC — China topped the ranking for the first time with 58,990 applications, unseating the United States, who filed 57,840 applications and had been the biggest user since the PTC system took effect in 1978.
Asia-based applications accounted for 52.4 percent of all applications, with Japan ranking third, followed by Germany and South Korea, while files coming from Europe and North America accounted for less than a quarter of the total each.
For the third consecutive year, Chinese telecom giant Huawei topped the world by filing 4,411 PTC applications. Japan-based Mitsubishi Electric Corporation ranked second with 2,661 PTC applications, followed by Samsung Electronics of South Korea and Qualcomm in the United States, which made 2,334 and 2,127 filings, respectively.
"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," said Francis Gurry, WIPO director-general.
Let's see the top 10 world's patent filers in 2019.