The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recently released its IP Facts and Figures Report, 2018.1 This is an annual document which provides an insight on intellectual property filings around the world. It is based on the filing statistics from member patent offices in the years 2016 and 2017. It indicates filing trends of four types of intellectual property i.e. patents, utility models, trademarks and industrial designs.
There were 3.17 million patent applications filed in 2017, 1.24 million industrial designs and 1.76 million utility models. However, there was 26.8% spike in trademark filings at 12.39 million.
Asia took the lion’s share in intellectual property filings across the world averaging at 74%. These include 65.1% of global patents, 66.6% of trademarks, 67.9% of industrial designs and 97.1% of utility models filings.
Country wise patent filings shows a skewed trend with five patent offices accounting for 85% of world total. These are China (43.6%), United States (19.2%), Japan (10.1%), South Korea (6.5%) and European Patent Office (5.3%). India was positioned seventh in the world in patent applications at 46,582 in 2017. Comparatively, China had 1.38 million patent applications filed for the same year. However, India witnessed one of the highest growth in patent application filings at 3.4% from 2016 to 2017.
Under Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system, United States is the largest source with 56,680 PCT applications. However, China became the second largest source at 48,900 applications with 13.5% growth. India, on the other hand did not feature in the top 10 sources of PCT applications. China based telecom companies Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corporation are the top two PCT applicants.
Utility model is a type of patent with lower patent-ability requirements and a shorter period of protection. China also covers 95.8% of global utility model applications, followed by Germany and Russia. The report finds marked growth in utility model filings in middle income countries of Philippines (22.8%) and Kazakhstan (16.3%) from 2016 to 2017. Indian Patent Act, 1970 does not recognize utility models.
Total trademark filing in 2017 was 12.3 million with only five offices covering 60% filings. These are China (46.3%), United States (5%), Japan (4.5%), European Union Intellectual Property Office (3%) and Iran (2.9%).2 India ranks seventh in trademark filings globally with 283, 575 applications. Notably, there has been a drop of 9.5% in trademark filings in India between 2016-17. Comparatively, China witnessed growth of 55.2% and Iran’s filing grew by 87.9% for the same period.
There was growth in use of Madrid System as well. It allows getting trademark protection in more than one country using a single international application. While United States and Germany rank at top of Madrid international applications, there has been significant growth in its use in China (57.8%) and Russia (23.9%). L’Oreal (France) was top user of Madrid System.
WIPO follows design count to measure industrial designs filings. Under this system, besides counting number of applications, number of designs in an application is also counted. In 2017, 945,100 industrial design applications were filed which contained 1.24 million designs. Almost 85% of global design filings took place in top ten offices including China (50.6%) and European Union Intellectual Property Office (8.9%). India did not feature in top ten list of industrial design filings. Industrial design filings in India stood at 11,117 designs with 4.2% growth between 2016-17.
Germany and Switzerland were top users of Hague System wherein applicants can obtain protection for industrial designs in multiple jurisdictions by filing single application at International Bureau of WIPO. Electronic giants Samsung and LG of South Korea were top Hague applicants.
Filings in India
Based on the report, in India there were 46,582 patent applications, 283,575 trademark applications and 11,117 industrial designs filed in 2017.
International applications originating from India were as follows: 1,582 PCT Applications (patents), 233 applications under Madrid System (trademarks) and 4 applications under Hague System (industrial designs).
IP Statistics Data Centre (WIPO)
IP Statistical Country Profiles (WIPO)
1. ‘IP Facts and Figures Report, 2018’ is available at
2. WIPO Statistics Database, September 2018