Worldwide demand for intellectual property (IP) rights are on the rise! Data from the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) annual World Intellectual Property Indicators report shows that 5.98 million applications were filed worldwide last year, which is 15.3% more than in 2014 and represents the highest growth since 2000.

The report, released on November 23, highlights key IP trends and developments that shaped the global IP system in 2015. In total, innovators around the world lodged 2.9 million patent applications, fuelled largely by China who have become the first office worldwide to receive more than a million applications. The report also shows that Asia is filing more intellectual property applications than any other region. 

In his foreword, Director General of WIPO, Francis Gurry, said: “It is encouraging to report that intellectual property activity saw healthy growth in 2015.”

“While China continues to drive global increases, IP use grew in most countries in 2015, reflecting its increasing importance in a globalized knowledge economy.”

This year’s report includes a special section to highlight the importance of gender equality for scientific advancement and innovation by measuring women’s participation in international patenting. The report says that despite general improvements in gender equality around the world, the gender gap still persists. Read our blog post on gender and inventorship.

Key findings across the IP rights include:

Global patent application filings increased by 7.8%, the sixth straight year of rising demand for patent protection. Innovators in China powered global patent applications to reach a new record, filing more than a million applications (1,101,864) – including filings from residents in China as well as from overseas. This totalled almost as many applications as the next three offices combined: the United States of America (U.S.; 589,410), Japan (318,721) and the Republic of Korea (213,694).

Trade marks
An estimated 6 million trade mark applications covering 8.4 million classes were filed globally in 2015, a total increase of 15.3%. Again China saw the highest filing activity with a class count of 2.83 million, followed by the U.S. (517,297), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO; 366,383) and Japan (345,070).

Industrial Designs
Global industrial design applications filed in 2015 grew by 2.3%, rebounding from a sharp decrease recorded in 2014 when there was a large drop-off in filings in China. Designers across the world filed 872,800 applications containing 1.1 million designs. Growth was mainly due to increases in applications filed in China, the Republic of Korea and the U.S.  

You can read the full report on the WIPO website.

Watch this short video of WIPO Director General, Francis Gurry, on the highlights of the report.


WIPO Infographic
WIPO Infographic - patents, trade marks and design figures
24 November 2016