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Int'l patent filings continue to grow in 2020 despite COVID-19: WIPO

Updated: Mar 4, 2021 Xinhua Print
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The headquarters of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is pictured in Geneva, Switzerland March 3, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

GENEVA -- International patent applications via the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) continued to grow in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a WIPO report released on Tuesday.

International patent applications filed via WIPO's Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which is one of the widely used metrics for measuring innovative activity, grew by four percent in 2020 to reach 275,900 applications, the highest number ever, despite an estimated drop in the global gross domestic product (GDP) of 3.5 percent, the report said.

China, with 68,720 applications in 2020, or a 16.1 percent year-on-year growth, remained the largest user of WIPO's PCT System, followed by the United States with 59,230 applications, up three percent, Japan with 50,520 applications, South Korea with 20,060 applications, and Germany with 18,643 applications.

For the fourth consecutive year, China's telecom company Huawei Technologies, with 5,464 published PCT applications, was the top filer in 2020. It was followed by Samsung Electronics of South Korea, Mitsubishi Electric Corp of Japan, LG Electronics Inc. of South Korea and Qualcomm Inc of the US.

The University of California, with 559 published applications, continues to head the list of top applicants among educational institutions in 2020. It was followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with 269 applications, China's Shenzhen University with 252 applications, Tsinghua University with 231 and Zhejiang University with 209 applications. The top 10-university list comprises five universities from China, four from the US, and one from Japan.

With 10,005 applications, US-based applicants filed the largest number of international trademark applications using WIPO's Madrid System in 2020, followed by Germany, China, France and the United Kingdom. Among the top ten origins, China, with a 16.4 percent year-on-year growth, is the only country to record double-digit growth in 2020.

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