According to a statement from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on Tuesday, last year, more than half of the total applications for international patents were applied for by companies and individuals from Asia and the highest among them was by Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.
In 2018, 5,405 patent applications to the U.N. body was made by Huawei which has been under the scanner of western countries led by the United States for its alleged relations with the Chinese government and possible spying by Chinese agencies through its equipments and hence the US has been pushing its allied countries to ban Huawei from being included in the construction of 5G mobile technology networks. In 2017, Huawei had made 4024 patent applications with the body.
“It’s an all-time record by anyone,” WIPO director general Francis Gurry told a news conference.
International treaties governing patents, trademarks and industrial designs is over seen by WIPO. An early snapshot of the trends is provided by its annual report on the applications that are received by it.
Gurry said that 50.5 percent of the total applications received comprised of Asia-based filings.
“Historically, this is really quite extraordinary,” he said. “Historically, this is a momentous occasion, this is something that is really a very, very significant result.”
In 2018, Mitsubishi Electric with 2,812 filings was the second-biggest user of the WIPO international patent system. Intel with 2,499 applications stood third.
It is most likely that China would be the country from where the largest number of patent applications would be received this year and possibly the next year also even as last year, the largest number of patent applications was received from the United States as a country.
While China had filed just one patent application in the WIPO system in 1993, the number of Chinese patent applications surpassed that from Japan in 2017. The number grew further by 9.1 per cent at 53,345 applications in 2018. On the other hand, there was a 0.9 per cent drop in 2018 in the number of U.S.-based filings at 56,142.
Among the top eight companies that applied for most patents, Asia accounted for six of them and include names such as China’s ZTE Corp and BOE Technology Group and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics.
Four of China’s universities also made on the list of top ten for the first time which helped the country rise in the academic rankings.
While 501 patent applications in 2018 were applied for from the University of California, US, which put it way ahead of other educational institutions remained well ahead among educational institutions, the second position was also bagged another US university, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at second while Shenzhen University and South China University of Technology jumped to third and fourth spot, even ahead of Harvard University.
An extremely strong emphasis on innovation benefited Chinese universities, Gurry said and added that other factors such as commercialization of basic research and as well as access to the world’s second largest national pool of research and development spending also helped the educational institutions of China to perform well.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)